SRINAGAR: The Indian Army on Tuesday said that 17 of its soldiers, who were critically injured during the violent face-off with the Chinese army at Galwan Valley in Ladakh have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total number of causalities in the day to 20 including an officer.
Earlier around noon, the defence sources had confirmed the killed of three soldiers including an officer. Later they were identified as members of Bihar regiment – Colonel B Santosh Babu (Telangana), Havildar Palani (Tamil Nadur) and Sepoy Ojha (Jharkhand).
Srinagar based defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia in a statement said that Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of June 15/16, 2020.
“17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20,” said the spokesman.
“Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation,” army spokesman in a statement said.
India’s major news gatherer ANI tweeted that government sources revealed to it that 20 soldiers were killed in the faceoff. It said the toll could rise.
At the same time, the news agency said that both the armies have disengaged.
“At least 20 Indian soldiers killed in the violent face-off with China in Galwan valley in Eastern Ladakh. Casualty numbers could rise: Government Sources,” the brief teet said.
At least 20 Indian soldiers killed in the violent face-off with China in Galwan valley in Eastern Ladakh. Casualty numbers could rise: Government Sources pic.twitter.com/PxePv8zGz4
— ANI (@ANI) June 16, 2020
In another tweet, it said, that based on the intercepts China suffered 43 casualties. “Indian intercepts reveal that Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in a face-off in the Galwan valley: Sources confirm to ANI”, the tweet reads.
Indian intercepts reveal that Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in face-off in the Galwan valley: Sources confirm to ANI pic.twitter.com/xgUVYSpTzs
— ANI (@ANI) June 16, 2020
Earlier in the evening. the MEA spokesman issued a brief statement in Delhi. “On late-evening and night of 15 June, a violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by Chinese side to unilaterally change status quo there. Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had agreement at higher level been scrupulously followed by Chinese side,” a statement issued by the MEA said. ” the MEA said in a statement. “Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. We expect the same of the Chinese side.”
It added further: “We remain firmly convinced of the need for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue. At the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
During the day, the army said an officer and two soldiers were killed during the de-escalation. “During the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation,” the army said in a brief statement.
Later, it said the Chinese side also suffered damages. Both sides are maintaining that the bullets were not fired and the casualties were the outcome of the scuffle, and stone-pelting. This led Omar Abdullah writing on twitter: “Since heard no shooting took place. The deaths were the result of violent scuffles & stone-pelting. Regardless of the how & the way three Indian army personnel were killed by the Chinese in the line of duty.”
It was later in the day that the Army said that Chinese Army also suffered some casualties but numbers were not immediately revealed. It was the China government newspaper The Global Times that confirmed the casualties later in the day. Hu Xijin, its editor in chief used twitter to tell part of the China story. “Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash,” he said in one tweet. “Chinese side didn’t release number of PLA casualties in clash with Indian soldiers. My understanding is the Chinese side doesn’t want people of the two countries to compare the casualties number so to avoid stoking public mood. This is goodwill from Beijing,” he said in another tweet, almost seven hours later.
Chinese side didn’t release number of PLA casualties in clash with Indian soldiers. My understanding is the Chinese side doesn’t want people of the two countries to compare the casualties number so to avoid stoking public mood. This is goodwill from Beijing.
— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) June 16, 2020
Late in the night, the Chinese news agency, Xinhua released a brief story about the Chinese army’s statement on the issue.
“The Indian troops had violated their promises and once again crossed the Line of Actual Control for illegal activities, and deliberately provoked and attacked the Chinese forces, thus triggering fierce physical conflicts between the two sides and causing casualties,” the Xinhua quoted Zhang Shuili, the spokesperson for the Western Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) saying. “We demand that the Indian side strictly restrain its frontline troops, immediately stop all infringement and provocative actions, and work together with China to return to the correct track of dialogue and negotiations to resolve the differences.” The statement was published by the official Weibo account of the PLA Daily.
The PLA spokesman actually reiterated what the Chinese foreign ministry had said in the day. “Despite China and India’s close communication via diplomatic and military channels aimed at easing border tensions, the Indian troops on Monday severely violated the consensus reached in the two countries’ army commander-level talks on June 6, as they crossed the border twice for illegal activities and launched provocative attacks against Chinese personnel, leading to serious physical conflicts between troops from both sides,” Zhao Lijian, the spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry was quoted saying by the Global Times. “China has lodged solemn representations with the Indian side and urged it to strictly restrain its frontline troops from crossing the border or taking any unilateral action that may complicate the border situation.”