On Tuesday, June 16, it came to the knowledge of the world that Chinese and Indian troops have exchanged aggression in Galwan. Galwan is a valley in Ladakh and the place where both forces have clashed. More than a hundred Indian soldiers got injured, and approximately twenty lost their lives. The hostile actions were carried out during the time both parties were working to decrease the tensions. It took place shortly after the Indian media announced their victory in the long standoff. The clash is said to be sparked by Chinese soldiers as they intruded into what India considers its territory.
A 3488 kilometers long border is shared between India and China in this region. Confrontations and dispute over this have become a common practice among both parties. However, this is the first time since long (since 1975) when Chinese and Indian soldiers have raised arms against each other. At Nathu La Pass (in Sikkim), in 1967, more than 300 Chinese and 80 Indians were killed in a clash between the two parties.
Following the night of this incident, it was confirmed by the Indian Army that 20 of its soldiers are dead. One of the fallen soldiers was B Santosh Babu, the officer in command of 16 Bihar Regiments. On the other side, the Chinese have not provided any information about it. Consequently, Indian reports are seen as baseless since they have failed to provide any evidence.
The Scene of Action
Most reports that confirmed the incident have shared a few common details of the clash.
- It took place between the junction of Galwan and Shyok River and Line of Actual Control.
- Amit Malviya (BJP IT Cell) denies the intrusion of Chinese in the Indian Territory. Reports say that the Chinese breached it.
- The entire region falls within the Daulat Beg Oldi sector.
- No exchange of firearms was seen or heard from either side, but reports portray Chinese troops as “Brutal in their Assault.”
- Sticks, bamboo poles, rods, stones, clubs, stuff wrapped in barbed wires were used in addition to and hand-to-hand combat.
- Many Indians died by falling off or being pushed off from a ridge into the Galwan River.
- Soldiers who survived are suffering from severe injuries and hypothermia.
The Sequence of Events that Have Led to This Brutal Atrocity
Ajai Shukla, an Indian Military Journalist, was reporting the buildup of the Chinese Army at LAC. He had been saying this to the Indian Intelligence since Late April. However, no immediate action was taken against this threat by the Indian Army. A large troop of Chinese soon crossed the LAC and got into Galway and Pangong Tso region.
May 5, marked the date of this clash on the border, causing casualties on both sides. The officer in command, Colonel Vijay Rana, is going through life-threatening wounds at the moment.
After a long standoff, both nations finally started efforts to de-escalate the tensions. On June 6, General Harinder Singh met Major General Lin Liu, at patrolling Point 14.
A “Buffer Zone” was created with mutual agreement in the meeting. The Buffer Zone was between the LAC and the junction of the Shyok river and Galwan. Indians agreed to stay on the western part of the intersection, the Chinese promised to remain in the eastern region. They even agreed to withdraw the soldiers from the three disputed areas: Pt 14, 15, and 17. The Indian General told the reporters about all the efforts from both sides. Both parties were supposed to disengage from disputed areas, starting from the Galwan Area.
After that, everything took a dangerous U-turn.
The Night of Attack
The Chinese crossed the Point 14 and started to set up a new post, in the Indian region (as claimed by India). This meant the violation of their agreement. The unit of Babu was deployed to make sure the new post is removed.
For some reason, that is not clear at the moment, the Chinese refused to leave. On their refusal, Chinese tents were burned down. Indian Army has also been reported to destroy and burn many Chinese structures on the Indian side of LAC. The clash had Chinese in the majority (Approximately 300). Neither party used firearms, but everything else that they could find in their surroundings was used.
Although there are many versions of this encounter, this one seems the most realistic.
According to some reports, this continued for more than three hours. However, according to some other news, it continued for more than eight hours.
The exact number of soldiers who were engaged in the clash is also unclear. One thing that is common in most reports is that the Indian Army was hugely outnumbered.
Chinese Side of the Story
The authorities have not stated in China concerning this clash. In the country, the media has tried to bury the story of this news. Since there was nothing said officially by China, only source-based numbers are floating in the media.
The first and main source has been the ANI, and according to it, 43 China-man were killed or seriously wounded. There was nothing to confirm this number, but it was used in various channels and website to depict the Chinese causalities. In India, the reports said that 43 was just the number of Chinese deaths. As per ANI, the Chinese commander of the force was also killed.
One thing that cannot be ignored is that we have no idea who is ANI’s source. Indian Amry’s official reports have claimed that there was no Chinese casualty. No claim has been put forth officially by the Chinese Army. The numbers are going to vary everywhere unless Beijing intervenes and clear all this confusion.
Despite all this, Indian reports have mentioned that Chinese Troops have even breached the areas of Depsang. Here, they have allegedly surrounded areas up to Point 12 and 13.
How much of this is true? Only time and China shall tell.