India and China have been in news for a few months now due to their continued military tension over the India-China Line of Actual Control (LAC).
But this tension has persisted since 1962 when the India-China war of 1962 led to a border area being created spanning across Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh and covering an area of 3,400 kilometers.
The most recent one though has been said to be the bloodiest and biggest clash since almost 40 years.
Although a few small spats and tussles were common, only rarely it gets to this level where there are so many casualties.
Tension had already been brewing since May when a fight broke out between both sides near Pagong Lake in Ladakh and then another fistfight was reported to have taken place in Norther Sikkim just a few days later.
It was later on reported that China had increased patrolling around some of those areas, learning of which the Indian side too had done the same.
However, a lethal fight breaking out at the Galwan Valley area in the Ladakh region has shocked everyone.
What Was The Fight About?
As per reports, on Monday evening Indian patrol forces led by Colonel Santosh Babu of 16 Bihar Regiment found Chinese soldiers from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on a narrow bridge near the valley.
It resulted in a small confrontation that took a turn for the worse when it resulted in the death of the Indian commanding officer and two other officers.
While the Indian side has its own version, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian has stated that Indian troops were “provoking and attacking Chinese personnel” and had been caught trying to cross the border twice, AFP news agency reported.
It is said that the soldiers fought barehanded or with rocks and clubs instead of firearms for around or more than 3 hours.
The reason for the fight is not clear exactly, but sources have said that China has been getting antsy regarding India’s military installations at the border.
Reports believe that China wants to build its own infrastructure there and India doing the same is not pleasing to them.
The fact that Chinese troops have remained in these high tension zones, especially Galwan Valley that is inside Indian territory has led to fistfights, shouting matches, stone-throwing and more.
In all those instances though there were no deaths that had been reported, making this fight much more serious.
Why A Hand To Hand Fight?
Many people could be confused as to why there was a hand to hand combat instead of the soldiers using guns or other weapons.
Instead, they used sticks, rocks, wooden clubs that had barbed wire wrapped around it or embedded with nails.
This is because according to a 1962 agreement between India and China “neither side shall open fire or conduct blast operations within 2 kilometres of the LAC.”
The agreement which was made as a confidence-building measure between both the countries asks that all personnel who come face to face due to some difference or another at the LAC have self-restraint and not try to escalate the situation.
It is also a sign of mutual respect that keeps either side from using guns or any other firearms.
While the agreement allows for routine firing activities in small arms firing ranges it does not allow the troops to “use any hazardous chemicals, or hunt with guns or explosives” when they are in the given area.
How Many Indians Got Affected?
The first few reports had stated that around 2-3 Indians soldiers had died in the altercation.
However, later on it was revealed that around 20 Indian jawans had lost their life in the fight.
It is said that many fell to their death since they were fighting on a bridge. As per a statement from the Indian army, “17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty” were unable to recover and passed away resulting in “total that were killed in action to 20”.
The Fake News Of 43 Chinese Soldiers Being Killed
After news of the 20 Indian soldiers having died came out, several reports and posts from Indian media were posted.
These claimed that on the Chinese side 43 Chinese troops were killed. As per a report from Alt News, DD News was one of the first to report on this claiming that they got this information from “agency reports”.
Several other media outlets, Hindi and English along with journalists posted about it too.
The origin of this news was apparently from a tweet made by ANI which said that “Indian intercepts reveal that Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in face-off in the Galwan valley: Sources confirm to ANI”
Indian intercepts reveal that Chinese side suffered 43 casualties including dead and seriously injured in face-off in the Galwan valley: Sources confirm to ANI pic.twitter.com/xgUVYSpTzs
— ANI (@ANI) June 16, 2020
It seems many people jumped on the 43 number and took it to mean as the number of soliders who had died.
The number, however, is only for Chinese soldiers who were casualties in the fight and there is no official report on how many lost their lives.
Chinese government has not given any kind of confirmation on this number nor revealed how many casualties they have on their side.
This Being The Biggest India China clash In 40 Years
The reason this situation is serious is because it is the first clash to be so fatal as to result in deaths since 1975 and the most serious since 1967.
The last such serious fight to happen was around 45 years ago in 1975 when four Assam Rifles men were killed in Tung La of Arunachal Pradesh.
As per recent reports, military officials from both India and China met to “defuse the situation”.
The Indian Army also released a statement stating that, “Indian and Chinese troops have disengaged at the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the night of June 15/16 2020.”
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