On 15th June two of the world’s most powerful militaries engaged in a conflict. The clashes took place in eastern Ladakh's Galwan Valley. The valley refers to the land between steep mountains and the Galwan River. It is strategically located between Ladakh in the west and Aksai Chin in the east. This is the first time the India and China are involved in a fierce confrontation since the deadly clashes between the two armies that took place in Nathu La in 1967 which resulted in the death of 88 soldiers of the Indian Army and about 300 soldiers the PLA or People’s Liberation Army of China. In this video, Defense updates analyze brutalLadakh's Galwan Valley clash of 15th June between India & China. Let’s get started. China has been objecting to India’s road construction activities at the western end of the valley, in the area between the Galwan-Shyokconfluence and the LAC.
Beijing’s latest remark state that the entire valley is on its side of the LAC or Line of Actual Control, which pegs the line further west near the Shyok river. India has rejected the claim as “exaggerated and untenable”. China has tried to change the territorial status quo gradually, post by post, island-by-island instead of trying to capture in one go. For example, China first occupied the Paracel islands in 1974 and then slowly expanded its presence southward by attacking Vietnam’sislands in the Spratly chain in the 1980s. This strategy is known as 'Salami Slicing' aims for the slow accumulation of small changes. China is trying to use the same tactics against India. There are conflicting reports regarding the skirmish. As accumulated from various sources, the altercation had 3 stages.
Stage 1. As per the previous discussion at the senior-level between PLA & India Army, the light infrastructure erected at Patrolling Point 14 by PLA was supposed to be dismantled. A few Indian soldiers went to check this but found this was not done. They asked the 10-12 PLA soldiers manning the post to do so but the Chinese refused. The Indian soldiers returned from the site and informed this to the Commanding Officer.
Stage 2. Around 50 troops and '16 Bihar' CommandingOfficer Colonel Santosh Babu in the lead, went on to tell the Chinese to go back further in their territory as they were on Indian soil. But by then, the Chinese had called for reinforcements from their rear positions in the Galwan river valley. There were around 300-350 soldiers and they were ready with spike embedded rods and stones. This included soldiers from the Chinese ‘DeathSquad'. As the discussion heated up and the Indian side started uprooting their tents and equipment, at this moment the Chinese pounced. The first attack was on the 16 Bihar CO andHavildar Palani. After the CO went down, the Indian Army soldiers became enraged and attacked the PLA ferociously though they were heavily outnumbered, didn’t have rods, and had to face stones raining from the higher ground. Several soldiers from both sides died because of falling into the river.
Stage 3 Indian Army base got the message for reinforcements and it sent around 50 Ghatak troops. ‘Ghatak' is a Hindi word and means ‘Lethal'in English. These are shock troops, trained to be tip of the spear, and are meant to break through enemy lines. They undergo special training in hand to hand combat and are battle-hardened as they regularly deal with terrorists that come from the Pakistani side. The Ghatak troops along with the already present troops launched the most brutal counter-attack against the PLA. Reports indicated that they snapped the necks of at least 18 Chinese soldiers and smashed their faces with stones beyond recognition. They unleashed a reign of terror that is unheard of in modern military history and chased the PLA 1 km into the Chinese side of LAC. India troops also removed the Chinese post which was existing in violation of the agreements between the two sides. It is important to note that firearms were not used by any side as per an accord signed earlier. Both India & China have suffered significant casualties.
This is actually the biggest-ever military confrontation between the two armies in over five decades. The Indian Army stated that 20 Army personnel, including Commanding Officer Colonel Santosh Babu, lost their lives. The bodies of Indian soldiers were sent to their hometown and they were laid to rest with full state honor. On the other hand, China didn’t disclose its numbers. Indian radio intercepts indicate that China lost 43 of its men. U.S officials quoting intelligence sources said that the Chinese army suffered 35 casualties and stated that China didn’t disclose its number as it has come as a major embarrassment for the communist regime. China as usual has tried to give it a twist and engaged Global Times for it. On June 17, the Editor-in-Chief of state-controlled Global Times, Hu Xijin had tweeted that Beijing does not want the people on either side of the border to compare the number of dead bodies that the nations were left within the aftermath of the clash as a ‘goodwill’ gesture done to ‘avoid stoking public mood. It is interesting to note that the UnitedStates on 22 June designated four more Chinese propaganda outlets "disguised as news agencies" as foreign missions.
US stated that they were the mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Global Times is one of the four. PLA later confirmed that a Chinese commanding officer was among those killed on their side. This emerged during a Lieutenant general-level talks held on 22 June between PLA & Indian Army which was aimed to resume discussions on the disengagement process. The USA Today report stated, “The U.S. believes Zhao, the Chinese general who commanded the forces involved, held a memorial service for the PLA soldiers who died in the incident – an occasion that would normally attract some form of state-sponsored publicity. Instead,
Chinese censors have since cracked down on social media posts about the incident, including ones that mention “defeat” and“humiliation” when describing the dead or injured Chinese troops”. USA intelligence report indicates that this was done since China wanted to project a position of “strength” and claim that it had no casualties in the standoff. Beijing has continued to blame New Delhi for the face-off in Galwan Valley. But U.S intelligence has nailed Chinese lies. A source familiar with the assessment says on the condition of anonymity, Gen. Zhao Zongqi, head of the Western TheaterCommand, and among the few combat veterans still serving in the People's Liberation Army, approved the operation along the contested border region of northern India and southwestern China.
The source added, Zhao, who has overseen prior standoffs with India, has previously expressed concerns that china must not appear weak to avoid exploitation by the United States and its allies, including in New Delhi, and saw the faceoff last week as a way to "teach India a lesson." This revelation by U.S intelligence also busted China’s claims that the deadly skirmish was a spontaneous result of the escalation of tensions at the LAC, just like prior skirmishes. The intelligence report by the USA states that China’s plan to attack India in order to “punish” it for allying with the USAclearly backfired and failed to pressure India. The report states that the attack by China against India “does the very opposite of what it wanted”, and “This is not a victory for China’s military.” It observes that the attack by China has inspired widespread outrage in India and actually, pushed India closer to the USA in its economic policies. China has bid its time, laid low but has risen economically and militarily. In the last decade or so it has changed its stance and has been very aggressive in its posturing.
This clash is a result of China belligerent maneuvering with the intention of land grab. But India is not a pushover. To understand this aspect, we recommend viewers to watch the video on the above card in which Defense Updates lists Top 5 Indian weapons that can stop china in its track. It is important to note that both the countries possess nuclear weapons and an escalation could lead to massive destruction. PLA has already asked for a dialogue with the Indian Army and the de-escalation process seems to be underway. It is evident that this time PLA has bitten off more than it can chew.