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military agree to

Indian and Chinese military commanders have agreed to disengage troops from a heavily disputed stretch of their border where a clash last week left 20 Indian soldiers dead, an Indian government source said on Tuesday.

China’s foreign ministry also said that China and India have agreed to take measures to ease tensions along a disputed stretch of their border.

China has not disclosed how many casualties it suffered, though an Indian minister has said around 40 Chinese soldiers may have been killed.

However, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also described recent media reports of 40 Chinese casualties in the conflict as “fake news”.

Indian and Chinese military commanders had met on Monday against the backdrop of public mood hardening in India for a military and economic riposte following the worst clash in more than five decades.

Senior military officials from both sides met for several hours on Monday in an attempt to reduce tensions in the Ladakh region in the western Himalayas.

“Modalities for disengagement from all friction areas in Eastern Ladakh were discussed and will be taken forward by both the sides,” the source said.

According to an Indian government source, the Indian side pushed for China to withdraw its troops back to where they were in April.

China, in previous rounds of talks, had asked India to stop all construction work in what it says is Chinese territory.

‘Calls for boycott’

Major Indian traders called for a boycott of Chinese goods and the state of Maharashtra, home to India’s financial capital of Mumbai, put three initial investment proposals from Chinese companies worth 50 billion rupees ($658 million) on hold, just days after signing the agreements.

Many in India have called for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s nationalist government to show it will not be bullied, remembering their country’s humiliation in a brief border war against China in 1962.

Members of an Indian traders’ body made a bonfire of Chinese goods at a market in New Delhi, pushing for a nationwide boycott of products made in China.

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), which represents some 70 million traders, has asked federal and state governments to support a boycott of Chinese goods and cancel government contracts awarded to Chinese companies.

“The entire nation is filled with extreme anger and intensity to give a strong befitting response to China not only militarily but also economically,” CAIT National General Secretary Praveen Khandelwal wrote in a letter to chief ministers of some Indian states.

In prosperous Maharashtra, the government said it was putting three investment plans, including from Great Wall Motor Co, on hold.

“In the current environment we will wait for the federal government to announce a clear policy regarding these projects,” industries minister Subhash Desai said.

China is India’s second-biggest trading partner, with bilateral trade worth $87 billion in the fiscal year ending March 2019, and a trade deficit of $53.57 billion in China’s favour, the widest India has with any country.