As tensions ease, China reveals identity of soldiers martyred in border clash with India
China, for the first time, on Friday released the information on the death of four People’s Liberation Army soldiers during a border clash with India last June.
In a detailed account of the clash published by PLA Daily on Friday, it was reported that in June last year, Indian soldiers crossed to the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control in Galwan Valley, set up tents and acted in violation of an agreement that the two sides had struck.
When the Chinese soldiers tried to negotiate with the Indian side, they were ambushed by Indian forces that far outnumbered them. Armed with steel pipes, clubs and rocks, the Indian soldiers launched an attack on the Chinese soldiers. A Chinese regimental commander suffered severe head injuries.
Three Chinese soldiers, who fought in the combat, died. Another soldier, on his way to provide support to the forces, drowned trying to cross a river.
At a press conference on Friday, Senior Colonel Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson of China’s Ministry of National Defense, said that the Indian army “was solely responsible” for the clash. He said that the Indian side illegally crossed the LAC, launched the provocation and initiated the attack.
In order to mitigate tensions and avoid escalations, China acted with great restraint, he added, but the Indian side hyped up casualties.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said in a regular press conference on Friday: “Now the PLA Daily has published relevant reports and revealed the truth. I believe it will help people to understand the truth and the rights and wrongs of the events. It is also a tribute to the bravery of the heroes and martyrs defending the country on the border.”
She stressed that China always maintains a consistent position on resolving the border issue, and is always committed to properly resolving disputes through dialogue while maintaining peace and stability in the border area.
The revelation of the information came as the two sides tried to push for an early disengagement of the front-line troops.
China’s Ministry of National Defense on Sunday said the 10th Round of China-India Corps Commander Level Meeting was held on Saturday on the Chinese side of the Moldo-Chushul border.
The two sides positively appraised the smooth completion of disengagement of front-line troops in the Bangong Lake area, noting that it was a significant step forward that provided a good basis for resolution of other remaining issues along the Line of Actual Control in the Western Sector of China-India border areas, according to a joint press release of the meeting.
Both sides agreed to follow the important consensus of their state leaders, continue communication and dialogue, stabilize and control the situation on the ground, push for a mutually acceptable resolution of the remaining issues in a steady and orderly manner, so as to jointly maintain peace and tranquility in the border areas, said the document.
The border rift appeared in April last year, when Indian border troops began building infrastructure facilities along the LAC in the Galwan Valley, a move that led to Beijing’s fierce protest.
Two scuffles took place shortly after and a round of commander-level meetings was held aiming to calm the situation. But hostilities resumed, leading to the deadly clash between the two sides in mid-June. The incident was the worst border clash in decades.