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An Indian military tank sinks while crossing a river in a region bordering China, killing 5 soldiers

NEW DELHI (AP) — Five Indian soldiers were killed when a military tank they were travelling in sank while crossing a river in the remote region of Ladakh that borders China, officials said Saturday.

The tank sank early Saturday due to sudden increase in the water levels of Shyok River during a military training activity, according to an Indian army command center statement. It said the accident took place in Saser Brangsa near the Line of Actual Control that divides India and China in the Ladakh region.

Defense Minister Rajnath Singh called it an “unfortunate accident.”

“We will never forget exemplary service of our gallant soldiers to the nation. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. The nation stands firm with them during this hour of grief,” Singh wrote on the social platform X.

The Indian and Chinese militaries have been locked in a standoff in Ladakh since May 2020, when they clashed along their land border in the region, with 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers killed.

The skirmish turned into a long-running standoff in the rugged mountainous area, where each side has stationed tens of thousands of military personnel. New Delhi and Beijing have held a series of diplomatic and military talks to resolve their worst military conflict in decades.

The border dispute between India and China dates back to the 1950s, and the two sides fought a war over it in 1962.