At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a clash with Chinese troops on Monday at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. In a late evening statement on Tuesday, the army said that Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged in Galwan, where they had earlier clashed on the night of June 15/16.
“Seventeen Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20,” the statement read, according to The Hindu.
The army also said there had been casualties on both sides, though it’s still unclear what the toll on the Chinese side is.
Both sides haven’t given out too many details on the clash, but India’s Ministry of External Affairs said the face-off happened “as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo” and accused China of departing from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
China, however, accused India of upping the ante. China’s foreign ministry spokesperson said that “Indian troops on Monday seriously violated the consensus of the two sides by illegally crossing the border twice and carrying out provocative attacks on Chinese soldiers, resulting in serious physical clashes.”
Here’s how Chinese media covered the incident:
State-run Global Times in an editorial said “India needs to rid two misjudgments on border situation”. It also claimed that the “arrogance and recklessness” of India is the main reason for the consistent tensions along China-India border.
New Delhi, it said, has adopted a tough stance on border issues in recent years and it has resulted from two misjudgments.
“It believes that China does not want to sour ties with India because of increasing strategic pressure from the US, therefore China lacks the will to hit back provocations from the Indian side. In addition, some Indian people mistakenly believe their country’s military is more powerful than China’s. These misperceptions affect the rationality of Indian opinion and add pressure to India’s China policy.”
Global Times also said that China does not want to clash with India and hopes to peacefully deal with bilateral border disputes. “This is China’s goodwill, not weakness. How could China sacrifice its sovereignty in exchange for peace and bow to threats from New Delhi?”
The editorial also said the Chinese side did not disclose the number of casualties of the Chinese military, a move that “aims to avoid comparing and preventing confrontational sentiments from escalating”.
This was similar to the sentiment expressed by Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief on Global Times, on Twitter on Tuesday, when he said that China was not releasing its casualty numbers as a “goodwill” gesture.
Another piece in the Global Times said the clash happened after Indian troops “crossed the border to conduct illegal activities and launched provocative attacks against Chinese personnel”. This led to physical self-defence measures from Chinese troops, it added, which reportedly caused the deaths of one Indian Army colonel and two soldiers.
It quoted Chinese experts as saying Indian “aggression is an intentionally staged, enhanced military action aimed at capturing Chinese territories that India has long sought of and is an egoistic move by India to shift away enormous domestic pressure caused by social problems including the Covid-19.”
Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
State-run news agency Xinhua only seemed to have one straight news story on the Chinese military spokesperson’s statement. It quoted Zhang Shuili, spokesperson for the Western Theater Command of the PLA, as saying that the “Indian side should strictly restrain their frontline troops and return to the correct track of dialogue and negotiations to resolve the differences.”
CGTN carried a similar copy, which said that China’s military voiced strong dissatisfaction and opposition to India’s “provocative actions” on Monday in the Galwan Valley. The military, it said, urged India to go back to the “right track” in properly managing disputes.
State broadcaster CCTV’s daily Xinwen Lianbo evening news broadcast made no mention of the border confrontation on Tuesday, according to AFP.
The Hindu journalist Ananth Krishnan also tweeted that China’s official media buried news of the clash.