China and India have accused each other of provoking fighting, in which at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a disputed border area.

Soldiers had engaged each side with sticks, bats, and bamboo sticks studded with nails in a late night confrontation in the Ladakh region on Monday, however, no shots were fired.

India’s army said both sides suffered casualties as China confirmed the incident but did not give details.

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  authorities noted that injured soldiers were exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain.

It is the first deadly clash between the two sides  in the disputed Kashmir region, in at least 45 years.

India said China had tried to unilaterally change the status quo but Beijing accused Indian troops of attacking Chinese personnel.

The two armies later held talks to try to defuse tensions.