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Indian army recovers seven soldiers killed in Himalayan avalanche

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Indian army rescuers on Tuesday recovered the bodies of seven soldiers buried in an avalanche while on patrol along a remote Himalayan frontier contested by China.

The troops were part of a larger deployment in Arunachal Pradesh state and were caught at an altitude of 4,400 meters (14,500 feet) in an area that had seen heavy snowfall in the days before Sunday’s avalanche.

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Two days of searching in rough weather ended without the rescue team finding any survivors among the missing soldiers.

“Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, all seven have been confirmed deceased,” Lieutenant Colonel Harsh Wardhan Pande, an army spokesman, said in a statement.

The bodies of the soldiers have been sent to a nearby military medical facility.

India and China have long disputed their vast frontier and fought a brief border war in Arunachal Pradesh in 1962.

Beijing claims much of the territory in the state, which it refers to as South Tibet.

Tensions flared in 2020 after a lethal high-altitude skirmish in the far-northern region of Ladakh, which saw hand-to-hand combat between troops in the contested Galwan Valley.

Since then, multiple rounds of talks have failed to de-escalate tensions and both sides have reinforced the region with additional military hardware and thousands of extra soldiers.

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