NEW DELHI: Eight months after the violent face-off with Indian troops in Galwan Valley along the Line of Actual Control, China for the first time accepted suffering four casualties.
They continue to hold India responsible for the confrontation though. Beijing honoured five PLA soldiers — four dead and one injured — for bravery in ‘battle’ with Indian troops.
The People’s Daily released the names of the four killed — Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran.
This admission comes days after Russian news agency TASS said at least 45 Chinese soldiers had died in the June 15 clash. India had announced immediately that it had lost 20 of its soldiers, including Colonel G Santosh Babu.
“The report has been revealed to give the truth to the public because the truth is long awaited and it is necessary for the people to know the true story,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said.
Hua said India is an important neighbour and restoring a healthy and stable relationship is in the interest of the two countries.
“I hope the Indian side will work with us towards achieving this shared goal.”
The face-off between Indian and PLA troops came after Indian soldiers were prevented from reaching their patrolling points.
Though there was no firing reported in accordance with the agreement signed by the two sides, Chinese troops used rods studded with nails and barbed wire to attack Indian soldiers.
Also, the admission of casualties came on a day when the disengagement process on the banks of Pangong Lake was completed, with the Chinese defence and foreign ministries continuing to blame India.
“China has exercised great restraint, reflecting China’s tolerance and commitment as a responsible power. However, the Indian side has repeatedly exaggerated and hyped the casualties, distorting the truth and misleading international public opinion,” the Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement.
Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said Indian troops had been crossing LAC since June.
“They even attacked Chinese officers and soldiers who went there for negotiation, thus intentionally triggering physical conflict at Galwan Valley and causing casualties on both sides.