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Odishatv Bureau

New Delhi: India's leading sportspersons, including cricket captain Virat Kohli and former football skipper Bhaichung Bhutia, have paid tributes to the 20 Army personnel killed during a clash with Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh.

The clash at the Galwan valley was the biggest Indo-China military confrontation in over five decades and escalated the volatile border standoff in the region.

Kohli offered his condolences to the families of deceased Indian soldiers and wrote on Twitter: "Salute and deepest respect to the soldiers who sacrificed their lives to protect our country in the Galwan Valley. No one is more selfless and brave than a soldier. Sincere condolences to the families. I hope they find peace through our prayers at this difficult time."

His white ball deputy Rohit Sharma also mourned the death of the soldiers.

Rohit paid tribute to the "real heroes" and said: "Salute to our REAL HEROES who laid their lives protecting and honouring our border. May god give their families utmost strength #GalwanValley."

Fast-bowler Ishant Sharma wrote on Twitter: "A big salute to our bravehearts who have been fighting for our motherland day and night, only to protect us. My condolences and prayers to the family! Om Shanti!#indiachinastandoff."

Former opener Virender Sehwag also reacted on Twitter: "Heartfelt condolences to Col. Santosh Babu who made the supreme sacrifice in action at the Galwan Valley. At a time when the world is dealing with a serious pandemic, this is the last thing we need. I hope Cheeni sudhar jaayein."

Former all-rounder Yuvraj Singh said: "I salute the courage of our Indian soldiers who have been martyred at #GalwanValley. All these atrocities must stop and hope we can have a peaceful world where human life is valued. My thoughts are with the bereaved families, I pray for their strength."

Former pacer Irfan Pathan tweeted: "We will always be indebted to our jawans of #IndianArmy who lost their lives in #GalwanValley #JaiHind."

Bhutia, who has also dabbled in politics, termed the attack a "planned one".

"China had asked all its citizens to leave India few weeks back. The killing of our soldiers in LAC was a I think a planned one.

"We completely condemn this cowardly act of China. Indian Govt should take strong necessary action and not bow down to Chinese aggression," Bhutia wrote on the micro-blogging site.

Olympic bronze medal winning duo of wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and shuttler Saina Nehwal and cricketer Shikhar Dhawan were also among the notable athletes to pay tributes.

(With Agency Inputs)

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