The Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh is once again in the news after a media report claimed that Indian Army soldiers and Chinese PLA troops had another ‘face-off’ in the no-patrolling zone in the region, in early May this year.
The report in Indian daily The Hindu claimed that despite the ”face-off’, no major clash erupted between the two sides and soldiers retreated immediately.
However, the Indian Army spokesperson has completely rejected the media report and called it an attempt to hinder border negotiations.
Indian Army Responds
The Indian Army spokesperson said that the article titled, ‘Minor face-off with Chinese troops in Galwan Valley’ published in The Hindu on May 23, 2021 “has been taken note of. It is clarified that NO such minor face-off has taken place between Indian and Chinese troops at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh in the first week of May 2021 as reported“.
“The article seems to be inspired by sources who may be trying to derail the ongoing process for the early resolution of issues in Eastern Ladakh. Media professionals are requested to clarify actual versions/positions on incidents involving the Indian Army from authorized sources in the #IndianArmy and not base reports on un-corroborated inputs from third parties,” the Army spokesperson said in a series of tweets.
The June 15, 2020, clash at the Galwan Valley between Indian and Chinese soldiers was the bloodiest conflict in decades. India lost 20 of its soldiers while China reluctantly admitted to four casualties.
In 1967, in a similar clash, India had lost over 200 of its soldiers and the death toll on the Chinese side stood at 300. The reports, however, have been conflicting with no precise details.
Although no guns or conventional weapons were used in the clashes at Galwan Valley, the two sides ruthlessly attacked each other with stones and iron clubs. After multiple rounds of negotiations, both Indian and Chinese PLA soldiers partially disengaged in February this year.
Galwan Valley Clash – China Had Warned India?
As EurAsian Times had reported last year, Chinese experts had warned India that Aksai Chin is no Dokalam and Beijing will not tolerate infringing its sovereignty.
Military experts writing for China’s state-owned Global Times had forewarned India that Chinese troops’ new move, deemed to be the most powerful response to India’s ‘illegal trespassing’ of the border since the Doklam standoff, exhibits the firm resolution of PLA soldiers to uphold its sovereignty.
The Chinese military analysts had affirmed that another India-China border conflict would not be anything like the ‘Doklam standoff” where Indian and Chinese soldiers stood eye to eye for months without any conclusive results.
Many experts in India hailed the courageous moves by the Indian Army to halt the ‘invading army’ in Doklam (near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction) which somehow dented the Chinese super-power reputation.
Experts in India had claimed that the violent stand-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers at the Galwan Valley was not a coincidence but a pre-planned move. Separate reports by the US and Indian agencies disclosed that China did a lot of homework before infiltrating Finger 4 to Galwan and Hot Spring areas.
According to an earlier report by the EurAsian Times, China could have planned the Ladakh border clash right after the Doklam conflict. India, at that time, was at an advantage (in Doklam) but PLA opted to retaliate in areas where it could hold better positions.
China was confident that India would not escalate the matters in the Ladakh region where PLA soldiers had a military advantage.
A month prior to the fatal June 15 clash, the analyst had blamed India for crossing the boundary line in the Galwan Valley region and entering Chinese territory.
Indian Army constructed defense fortifications and barriers to obstruct Chinese border defense troops’ patrol activities, and instigate conflicts, the analyst had written.
The analyst also claimed that the Galwan Valley region was Chinese territory and actions by the Indian side had dangerously violated the border pact between China and India which could ruin military ties between the two nations.
The analyst had emphasized that the Galwan Valley was not like Doklam (where the Indian Army somehow prevailed) because it is in the Aksai Chin region of China where the Chinese PLA has a clear advantage and robust infrastructure.
So, if India heightens the conflict, the Indian military may have to pay a heavy price, the analyst had warned.