Both sides blamed each other.
It is the first deadly clash between the two sides in the border area, in the disputed Kashmir region, in at least 45 years.
Soldiers reportedly brawled with sticks, bats and bamboo sticks studded with nails. No shots were fired.
The fighting occurred in the precipitous, rocky terrain of the strategically important Galwan Valley, which lies between China’s Tibet and India’s Ladakh.
Indian media say soldiers engaged in direct hand-to-hand combat, with some “beaten to death”. During the fight, one newspaper reported, others fell or were pushed into a river.
I would like to assure the nation that the sacrifice of our jawans will not be in vain. For us, the unity and sovereignty of the country is the most important…
India wants peace but it is capable to give a befitting reply if instigated,” PM Narendra Modi said.
“India wants peace but when instigated, India is capable of giving a befitting reply, be it any kind of situation,” he added.