The Indian Army on Tuesday released images of Indian troops holding and flying the Tricolour in the Eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, which was the scene of the deadly confrontation with Chinese troops on June 15, 2020.
This follows the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) releasing New Year videos of its soldiers unfurling the Chinese flag, purportedly from the Galwan Valley. In 2020, both sides withdrew from the location of the violent confrontation and restored the buffer zone.
The release of photos of Indian Army troops at Galwan seeks to counter Chinese propaganda that it continues to occupy the spot where the confrontation took place.
Twenty Indian soldiers, including the commanding officer of 16th battalion of the Bihar Regiment, Colonel B Santhosh Babu, were killed in the gruesome clash in which Chinese troops used nail-studded clubs to attack Indian troops. These were the first deaths of Indian soldiers in action against the PLA since 1975.
An unspecified number of PLA troops, including the Chinese commanding officer, too were reportedly killed in a night of bloodletting after Indian troops attempted to remove Chinese tents from the area. This became the defining incident in the protracted on-going military face-off between intruding Chinese troops and Indian soldiers who moved to counter the action in Eastern Ladakh.
Photographs released by the Indian Army show soldiers of the Dogra Regiment holding the Indian National Flag and the Dogra Regimental Flag. The soldiers are holding the SiG Sauer assault rifles recently imported from the US. Indian Army sources said these photos were from an observation post in the Galwan Valley.
“The post is near the site where rival troops had clashed in June 2020,” an officer elaborated. India has dismissed the Chinese propaganda videos, maintaining that these were not shot in the buffer zone and are an attempt to mislead public opinion. The release of photos of Indian Army troops holding on to their positions are a counter to the Chinese propaganda.
There’s no end in sight for the protracted stand-off, which started after PLA troops on a military exercise in May 2020 occupied areas in the buffer zone along the Line of Actual Control that is claimed by both sides. India responded with a massive troop mobilisation and rebalancing of its forces to Eastern Ladakh to deter Chinese aggression. Armoured and artillery formations are among the reinforcements, which reports suggested were equivalent to the deployment of an additional Corps strength of troops.
While both sides have de-escalated from Galwan and Pangong Tso, the face-off at the Depsang Plains, Demchok and Hot Springs-Gogra continues with the Chinese refusal to pull back. Thirteen rounds of Corps Commander-level talks between the two sides have failed to break the impasse. The date for the 14th round of talks has not been finalised. The last round of talks was held on October 10, 2021.