- China admitted for the first time that, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) lost four of its soldiers in the Galwan clash with India last year
- PLA declared posthumous gallantry citations for five soldiers, including the regimental commander, for their acts
- Currently, India and China are in the midst of a military de-escalation on eastern Ladakh’s Pangong Lake
Eight months after a fierce border conflict in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, China officially recognized the losses and names five officers and soldiers who were said to have been killed.
The PLA Daily, the official Chinese military newspaper, reported that the five soldiers were honored by the Chinese leadership on Friday.
The Central Military Commission of China (CMC) has recognized five Chinese border officers and soldiers stationed in the Karakoram Mountains for their sacrifices in the border confrontation with India that took place in the Galwan Valley in June 2020, the official Chinese military newspaper, PLA Daily, announced on Friday.
Four Chinese soldiers, who were sacrificed in last June's border conflict, were posthumously awarded honorary titles and first-class merit citations, Central Military Commission announced Friday. A colonel, who led them and seriously injured, was conferred with honorary title. pic.twitter.com/Io9Wk3pXaU— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 19, 2021
The PLA Daily quoted the state-run Global Times which said that those killed included Qi Fabao, the regimental commander of the PLA Xinjiang Military Command, Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran.
Shortly after the clashes on June 15, India reported the loss of 20 Indian soldiers who were honored for their bravery with their names installed in memorials.
Qi Fabao who was the regimental commander of the PLA Xinjiang Military Command, has been granted the title of “Hero Regimental Commander for the Defence of the Border,” and “Hero for the Defence of the Border,” was given to Chen Hongjun and also first-class merit to Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran by the CMC, the overall high command of the PLA led by President Xi Jinping.
Beijing had never recognized Chinese casualties until now. China’s admission comes days after the Northern Army Commander of India referred to the figure of 45 Chinese casualties published on February 10 by the Russian news agency TASS.
Qian Feng, director of the research department at Tsinghua University’s National Strategy Institute, told the Global Times that China “unveiled details of the incident to refute previous disinformation that stated China suffered more casualties than India or China provoked the incident”.
In the Galwan Valley, the conflict between hundreds of Indian and Chinese soldiers took place when Chinese soldiers prevented Indian soldiers from marching to their traditional patrolling point in the area, which had also seen clashes in the Sino-Indian War of 1962.
The Chinese soldiers were armed with weapons such as spiked maces in the medieval style. Both sides have not shot at each other.
After the Galwan clash, the Chinese captured some Indian soldiers as prisoners of war. These men were released subsequently.
The Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest wartime gallantry award, was awarded to Colonel Santosh Babu, the 16th Bihar Commanding Officer, who was martyred in action.
India and China are currently in the midst of a military de-escalation on both banks of eastern Ladakh’s Pangong Lake, which is well south of Galwan, where the clashes took place.
India and China agreed to establish a buffer zone in the region where there is no man’s land between the two sides that is not patrolled by either side, after the pitched hand-to-hand fighting in Galwan.