Defence

4, 9 or 14? Even China ‘isn’t sure’ how many PLA soldiers died in Galwan Valley

By The print

How many soldiers of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were killed in the face-off with the Indian Army at Galwan Valley on 15 June last year? Was it four? Or nine? Or 14?

It seems even the PLA is not really sure.

During various levels of talks with India, Chinese officials have, at different points of time, unofficially, given contradictory figures for their Galwan clash casualties, sources in the defence and security establishment told ThePrint.

The figures — shared informally, especially in breaktime conversations during dialogue sessions — varied from 5-14, even as China has publicly accepted only four deaths so far.

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, the sources said.

The entire clash, they added, took place in the Y-junction area, which is within Indian territory, and it was the Chinese that intruded.

While the Indian establishment does not have a concrete figure on Chinese fatalities, their estimate is that the PLA lost between 25 and 40 personnel, including at least one officer.

The Galwan Valley clash marked the first time in 45 years that soldiers died in a clash on the India-China border. Twenty men of the Indian Army, including a Colonel, died in the face-off.

Since India and China followed a no-firing protocol, in line with a 1996 agreement, the Chinese employed crude weapons, including rods studded with nails, in the clash.

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