Ending months of speculations, The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China has finally revealed that five of its military officers and soldiers were killed while 11 were injured in the clash with Indian troops in Galwan Valley last year. India in turn lost 20 soldiers in the border skirmish at eastern Ladakh.
PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese military on Friday (February 19) said that the Central Military Commission of China (CMC) has recognized five Chinese frontier officers and soldiers stationed in the Karakoram Mountains for their sacrifice in the June 15, 2020 border incident.
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Those killed included Qi Fabao, the regimental commander from the PLA Xinjiang Military Command, state-un Global Times quoted PLA Daily report as saying.
A total of 20 Indian soldiers died in the Galwan Valley clash on June 15, regarded as the worst in over four decades at the India-China border. The CMC, the overall high command of the PLA headed by President Xi Jinping, has awarded Qi Fabao, the regimental commander from the PLA Xinjiang Military Command, the title of “Hero regimental commander for defending the border,” Chen Hongjun with “Hero to defend the border,” and awarded first-class merit to Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran.
This is the first time China has acknowledged casualties and details of these officers and soldiers sacrifice, four of whom died when dealing with the Indian military’s “illegal trespassing” of the Galwan Valley Line of Actual Control (LAC), the report said.
After the June 15 incident, while India has announced the casualties immediately after the incident, China did not officially acknowledge the casualties until Friday. The Russian official news agency TASS reported on February 10 that 45 Chinese servicemen were killed in the Galwan Valley clash. Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, told the Global Times that China unveiled the details of the incident to refute previous “disinformation” that stated China suffered greater casualties than India or China incited the incident.
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The admission of the casualties by the PLA coincides with the disengagement of troops by both sides at the North and South banks of the Pangong Lake, the most contentious part of the standoff which began in May last year.
(With inputs from agencies)