After a year China Revised Galwan Valley Clash Toll To 5, Remaining 35 Still to be Accounted For
For nearly seven months PLA denied having any casualties during the Galwan valley clashes in Jun 2020. Then in Feb 21, the Chinese Communist Party gave clearance to the PLA to accept four casualties. Now five months after claiming that four of its soldiers were killed in clashes with Indian troops in June last year, China has now revised the toll to five.
Giving fresh details of the Galwan Valley clash, China’s state-run Xinhua news agency reported Monday that “several soldiers were besieged including regimental commander Qi Fabao”.
The report, which was quoted by Global Times, focussed on “details of how Chinese officers and soldiers sacrificed their lives in the Galwan Valley clash in 2020, including martyr Chen Hongjun”.
It said that 33-year-old Chen Hongjun, a Battalion Commander, sacrificed his life to the “frontline defence confrontation with India in the Galwan Valley in June 2020, along with other four of his comrades-in-arms, who had stationed in the Karakoram Mountains with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Xinjiang Military Command.”
A Battalion Commander in China is the same rank as the Commanding Officer of a Battalion in the Indian Army.
In February this year, China had admitted for the first time that four PLA soldiers were killed in the clash.
This admission came at a time when India and China were disengaging from the southern and northern banks of Pangong Tso.
However, Indian Military and Indian Intelligence agencies believed the toll was much higher than what China had officially claimed and around 40 PLA dead and around 45 wounded. This was because during various levels of talks with India, Chinese officials have — unofficially — given contradictory figures for their Galwan clash casualties, as reported.
The figures, shared informally, especially in breaktime conversations during dialogue sessions, varied from five to 14.
It was also reported by the Chinese media that contrary to the perception that the Indian side was outnumbered by the PLA in the Galwan Valley, it was the Chinese that faced the brunt and they had to call in reinforcements, which came at night.
This is something that the fresh reports by the Chinese media have reported.
Focusing on Chen Hongjun, the report said, “during the battle, when regimental commander Qi Fabao was besieged by Indian troops at the vanguard, Chen Hongjun took two other soldiers and rushed forward against the stones that were being hurled and the blows from sticks wielded by Indian troops. Using his body as a shield, Chen rescued Qi.
As he saw several soldiers were besieged by the Indian troops, Chen Hongjun, once again, turned around without hesitation and led the soldiers to charge again at the battleground”.
A Russian media source had revealed last year that PLA had lost nearly 40 soldiers and as many were wounded. A Chinese was also prosecuted for revealing sensitive news regarding Galwan Casualties over the Social media.
India had lost 20 soldiers in the clash. While some of the deaths were the result of the clashes, a large number of soldiers died of hypothermia after falling into the cold waters of the river.
For the Chinese Communist Party, it seems, it will take nearly 35 years to acknowledge the death of all 40 soldiers of theirs.