On Friday, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China admitted that four of its troops died in a border clash with Indian soldiers, days after China and India withdrew their troops from the area.
China removed about 10,000 troops from PLA training areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) off the eastern parts of India’s Ladakh province starting last week.
Only a few days later, the People’s Liberation Army Daily, the official military newspaper, announced that four Chinese soldiers were killed last year in a clash with Indian forces in a highly mountainous part of the border zone.
It said the four had received military posthumous honors. Battalion Commander Chen Hongjun was awarded the title of ‘border defense hero,’ while first-class merit awards were granted to Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan, and Wang Zhuoran.
Their deaths were due to “a clash with trespassing foreign military personnel,” although there was no mention of India by name.
The paper stated that a regimental commander who was wounded in the incident, Qi Fabao, was also awarded the title of “hero of border defense,”
On Friday, state broadcaster CCTV aired on its military channel a brief video clip of the confrontation, showing Qi talking to an interpreter standing face-to-face with a member of the Indian army.
“Ask him if he would let us go over there now to ‘carry out our duty’,”Ask him if he would let us go over there now to ‘carry out our duty.’ Tell them to get the heck out of here. Right now! Otherwise it’s on them what happens next.’
“If you don’t want a war then get lost!” yells Qin.
Also seen were images of the fallen soldiers, accompanied by orchestral music.
Spokeswoman Hua Chunying of the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the disclosure should help the world “understand the truth, and the right and wrong of the incident.”
“The Indian side has repeatedly exaggerated and hyped the casualties, distorting the truth, and misleading international public opinion,”The Indian side has repeatedly exaggerated and hyped the casualties, distorting the truth, and misleading international public opinion.
“Now the PLA Daily has published a report on the incident to reveal the truth.”
Hua said responsibility for the clash “doesn’t lie with China,” saying that “great restraint.” had been exercised by the PLA.
Wu Qiang, a former political lecturer at Tsinghua University, said that the airing of the video and the honor of the soldiers came only after the withdrawal of the troops, indicating that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) was intent on moderating nationalist fervor at home.
Wu said, “This announcement from China comes against the background of the agreement between the two militaries that both sides will withdraw forces,” “There is a certain opportunism to the timing, because it avoids whipping up nationalistic sentiment among the Chinese public.”
“India is still in a strong position. [We have seen that] one legacy left over from the Trump era has been a strong political alliance against China in the Asia-Pacific region.”India is still in a strong position. [We have seen that] a strong political alliance against China in the Asia-Pacific region has been one legacy left over from the Trump era.
According to Indian security officials and local media, thousands of Indian and Chinese troops faced off at three or four locations in the western Himalayas in June 2020, after Beijing’s forces invaded Indian territory.
But in India’s snowy and mountainous Ladakh area, China denied breaching the LAC near the Galwan River.
An Indian army officer told the Associated Press that in an operation that started on Feb. 10, 2021, Indian and Chinese soldiers have now completed disengagement from the southern and northern banks of Pangong Lake.
Commander-level talks are scheduled for Saturday, the officer told the AP on condition of anonymity, to discuss pulling back from other regions.
Immediately following the incident, the U.S. sided with India, claiming that China’s incursion into Indian territory was indicative of its actions in other areas, including the South China Sea.
India said at the time that Chinese troops had recently carried out “undertaken activity hindering India’s normal patrolling patterns.”
Chinese state media said that since the beginning of May, Indian troops had been “trespassing” on Chinese territory and attempting to erect illegal defense installations.