CHINA HAS FINALLY admitted that it lost four soldiers during a deadly clash last June with Indian forces along the two countries’ disputed Himalayan border.
The skirmish involving hand-to-hand fighting with sticks and cudgels took place in the Galwan Valley in the Ladakh region of Kashmir. It was the first clash along the remote and ill-defined border to cost lives in nearly half a century.
At the time, Delhi acknowledged that 20 Indian soldiers had died, but Beijing, as is its wont, did not announce casualties.
On February 19, the PLA Daily named the four Chinese soldiers killed, the first official recognition of PLA losses. It said all received posthumous awards. A regimental commander who was seriously injured also received military honours.
It also released some video footage of the clash. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying says China has gone public to counter what she calls India’s ‘hyping up’ of the casualties. and to set the record straight.
India and China have now agreed to pull back their troops a bit to lessen the chance of further engagements. A tenth round of disengagement talks at corps commander level was reportedly held this weekend. There has been no progress on settling the dispute.
Update: India’s defence ministry says that the two countries have completed the previously agreed pull-back of their troops who have been facing off across Pangong Lake (see map above) in an area claimed by both sides. The ministry also confirmed that a round of disengagement talks were held at the weekend to review progress on the withdrawal. Further talks will be held to lower tensions at other hotspots along the disputed border.