Chinese frontier officers and soldiers stationed in the Karakoram Mountains in
Ladakh have been recognized by the Central Military Commission of China for
defending national sovereignty and territorial integrity in the border
confrontation with India, which occurred in the Galwan Valley in June 2020, the
Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) Daily reported on Friday.
Qi Fabao, the regimental commander from the PLA Xinjiang Military Command, who survived the incident, was awarded the title of "Hero regimental commander for defending the border," Chen Hongjun was given "Hero to defend the border," and first-class merit awarded to Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran.
This is the first time China has unveiled casualties and details of these officers and soldiers, four of whom died in the Galwan Valley encounter.
The report also revisited the whole incident - how the Indian military deployed a large number of soldiers who premeditatedly hid, trying to force the Chinese military to concede. How the Chinese soldiers defended the sovereignty of the country amid attacks of steel tubes, cudgels and stones was also highlighted.
A total of 20 Indian soldiers died in the skirmish. This is the worst border conflict between the two countries in nearly 45 years. Indian media had previously claimed that the Chinese military suffered more deaths than the Indian side.
According to Lin Minwang, international studies professor at Fudan University and an expert in Sino-Indian relations, postponing the announcement of Chinese casualties until the withdrawal started last week was a balancing act intended to deter relations from worsening.
"It was actually highly controversial to delay acknowledging the casualties and the government also owed it to the sacrificed soldiers to properly honor them in public, so the announcement was just a matter of time," Lin said. "The key was finding the right time to do it."
Chinese defense ministry spokesman Ren Guoqiang said China had decided to reveal the details of casualties on Friday to clear up rumors over the incident.
"The Indian Army illegally crossed the line and took the lead in provocation, attacking the Chinese and creating conflicts in the Galwan Valley. The Indian side was solely responsible for it," he said. "The Indian side has repeatedly hyped up casualties and distorted the truth."
US panel says China planned Galwan incident
Chinese government had "planned" the June Galwan incident provoking
military or paramilitary standoffs with countries from Japan to India, the United
States top panel said in its report released in December 2020.
United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) in its report '2020 Report To Congress of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission' said, "Some evidence suggested the Chinese government had planned the incident (Galwan), potentially including the possibility for fatalities."
The report read, "In June 2020, the PLA and Indian troops engaged in a
massive physical brawl in the Galwan Valley, located in the far-western Ladakh
region along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) separating the two countries. The
clash, which followed a series of standoffs beginning in early May along
multiple sectors of the LAC, led to at least 20 Indian deaths and an
unconfirmed number of Chinese casualties, the first time since 1975 that lives
were lost in fighting between the two sides.
"Beijing ramped up its multiyear coercion campaign against its neighbors, provoking military or paramilitary standoffs with countries from Japan to India and much of Southeast Asia. Shortly after China's defense minister urged Beijing to use military force to stabilize its periphery, a violent clash on the China-India border in June led to the first loss of life between the two countries since 1975," it said.
Citing another incident before the Galwan clashes, it said, "Just over two weeks before the incident, in another potential indication of Chinese leaders signaling their intent to escalate tensions, an editorial in China's state-owned tabloid Global Times warned that India would suffer a "devastating blow" to its trade and economic ties with China if it got "involved in the U.S.-China rivalry." Satellite images depicted a large Chinese buildup in the Galwan Valley, including potentially 1,000 PLA soldiers, the week before the deadly skirmish."
The US top panel said that though both the countries have had " multiple physical clashes along their border" but "since General Secretary Xi assumed power in 2012 the two countries have seen five major altercations along their border". "The exact motivations behind the Chinese government's provocative behavior on the LAC this year remain unclear."
Chinese troops have dismantled camps on disputed India border
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