In a first, state-backed Chinese media on Friday acknowledged it incurred casualties including four dead, in the Galwan valley clashes between the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and the Indian Army in June last year.
The announcement comes after the repeated inital denials by Beijing that its army had suffered any casualties, even calling the reports 'fake'. Post the clashes on June 15, Indian government had declared that 20 Indian soldiers had been killed in action, in what was termed as the worst border confrontation between the two countries.
People's Daily a state sponsored media outlet in China tweeted that the Chinese Military Commission had recognised four PLA soldiers awarding them posthomus honorary titles and citations. The tweet while not naming Galwan directly, referred to it as "last June's border conflict". It also mentioned that a colonel who led the four soldiers sustained serious injuries.
Global Times, another state controlled media, reported details of the five PLA personnel including names, titles awarded, how the clashes unfolded and the role played by each of the four deceased soldiers.
Global Times reported that the Central Military Commission recognised five frontier officers and soldiers stationed in the Karakoram mountains, for "defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity in the border confrontation with India:. The report detailed the citations as, "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."
The Global Times report further quoted lines from the diary of Chen Xiangrong one of the deceased soldiers, refering to the clashes as, "When facing enemies that outnumbered us, none of us flinched. Amid their stone attacks, we drove them away..."
Speaking to Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, about why the details of the attack were unveiled, Global Times reported, "China unveiled the details of the incident to refute previous disinformation that stated China suffered greater casualties than India or China incited the incident." A similar quote was attributed to senior Coloney Ren Guoqiang, Defence Ministry spokesperson, China.
BOOM reached out to a spokesperson of the Indian Army who refused to comment.
Currently, China and India have begun an disengagement process, with troops withdrawing from the shared border near Pangong Tso lake, as per earlier agreements between the Indian and Chinese governments. The Indian Army also released videos of Chinese army personnel dismantling tents, bunkers and troops driving away from what is the northern and southern bank of the Pangon Tso lake.
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