Months after Galwan clash, China admits four officers, soldiers died
For the first time since it clashed with India in the Galwan Valley, Ladakh, China has officially admitted that it lost four officers and soldiers. On Friday, the PLA Daily, the official newspaper of China's military, reported that the deceased personnel were honored by the Central Military Commission of China. A Regimental Commander of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) was among those who died.
What had happened in the Galwan Valley?
In mid-June last year, PLA soldiers had attacked Indian troops stationed in the tough terrain, worsening ties between both the nuclear-armed nations. It was also the first time that blood was spilled along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in decades. While India soon revealed it lost 20 soldiers, including the Commanding Officer of the Bihar Regiment, China chose not to acknowledge its casualties.
Regimental Commander Qi Fabao died in the clash: PLA Daily
Now, eight months after the episode, China has admitted it also lost soldiers. Quoting PLA Daily, state-run Global Times reported that the personnel who died were stationed at Karakoram Mountains. Qi Fabao, the Regimental Commander from the PLA Xinjiang Military Command, was among those who died. He was honored with the title of "Hero regimental commander for defending the border," the report said.
CMC, headed by President Xi Jinping, honored the fallen soldiers
Separately, CMC honored Chen Hongjun with the "Hero to defend the border" title, while the first-class merit was given to Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan, and Wang Zhuoran. Headed by President Xi Jinping, CMC is the overall high command of the PLA. Notably, Russia's official news agency TASS had on February 10 claimed that China lost 45 personnel in the clash with India.
China disclosed casualties to counter misinformation
On the latest development, Qian Feng, Director of the Research Department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, said that Beijing revealed details to counter misinformation about PLA suffering more casualties than India. New Delhi opined that at least 30 Chinese personnel had died. Feng told Global Times that China was also hoping to refute misinformation that it had incited the episode.
Meanwhile, both sides agreed to disengage along Pangong Lake
China's admission coincides with the disengagement process initiated by both countries in the northern and southern banks of Pangong Lake. Both sides agreed to remove troops from the highly-volatile positions respecting the agreement reached on January 24, when the ninth round of corps commander-level talks were held. Earlier it was reported that the first phase of disengagement would be completed by today, February 19.
India didn't lose anything: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
Informing the Indian Parliament about the agreement between the countries, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh affirmed last week that India didn't lose anything. "I want to assure this House that we have not lost anything. Both sides will withdraw forward deployments in a phased, verified manner," he said. He added that India remains firm on its position that both sides must respect LAC.