BEIJING: China’s official media on Tuesday quoted the Chinese military as claiming that it “always” owned sovereignty over the Galwan Valley region and alleged that “provocative attacks’ launched by the Indian troops resulted in “severe clashes and casualties.”
In its first reaction on Monday’s clashes between the two militaries at the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh, a statement quoted by the Chinese media quoting the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Western Theatre Command Spokesperson Colonel Zhang Shuili said, “China always owns sovereignty over the Galwan Valley region.”
There was no immediate reaction from the Indian side to the PLA statement quoted to Col. Shuili.
“The Indian troops have broken their promises and again crossed the line of actual control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley region on Monday evening and purposely launched provocative attacks, leading to severe clashes and casualties,” Zhang claimed.
An Indian Army officer and two soldiers were killed during a violent clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night, in the first such incident involving fatalities after a gap of 45 years and signalling a massive escalation in the five-week border standoff in the sensitive region.
The Army said India lost an officer and two soldiers during the violent face-off, while there were casualties on the Chinese side as well. The extent of casualties on the Chinese side is not immediately clear.
While acknowledging “severe clashes and casualties”, the PLA statement quoted by the Global Times as well as China Daily was silent on the casualties on the Chinese side.
“China always owns sovereignty over the Galwan Valley region,” the PLA statement claimed.
“The Indian border defence troops are inconsistent with their words and seriously violated the agreements both countries have reached, the consensus made during the army commander-level talks and harmed the relations of the two militaries and the feelings of the two countries’ peoples”, it said.
“India should stop all provocative actions, meet the Chinese side halfway and come back to the right path of solving disputes through talks”, Zhang said.
The Indian and Chinese armies are engaged in the standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh. A sizeable number of Chinese Army personnel even transgressed into the Indian side of the de-facto border in several areas including Pangong Tso.
The Indian Army has been fiercely objecting to the transgressions, and demanded their immediate withdrawal for restoration of peace and tranquillity in the area. Both sides held a series of talks in the last few days to resolve the border row.
While the Chinese officials were silent on the casualties suffered by the PLA troops, Hu Xijin, editor of the ruling Communist Party-run Global Times tabloid tweeted to say there are casualties on Chinese side too.
“Chinese and Indian military personnel broke out in a severe physical conflict in the Galwan Valley. The Indian side stated that three people died in the Indian Army. According to my urgent knowledge of people familiar with the situation, there are also casualties on our side”, she said.
However, the Global Times later tweeted that the “official Global Times accounts have NEVER reported the exact casualties on the Chinese side. The Global Times CANNOT confirm the number at the moment.”