Ahamed Abdullah Coimbatore India
Galwan: 10 things to know about the latest India-China battle at 14,000 ft
1. The Indian casualties include an officer and 19 soldiers. It has been reported that the Army officer killed in the clash was the commanding officer of a battalion at Galwan. The last time such a thing happened was in Tung La of Arunachal 45 years ago, way back in 1975, when four Assam Rifles men had been killed.
2. The situation turned worse after around scores of soldiers were engaged in a violent face-off on May 5-6 at Pangong Tso, following which another similar episode occured at north Sikkim three days later.
3. The faceoff took place during the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan Valley. The incident comes days after Army Chief Gen Naravane said both sides have begun disengaging "in a phased manner" from the Galwan Valley. "We have started from the north, from the area of the Galwan river where a lot of disengagement has taken place. It has been a very fruitful dialogue that we have had," said the General.
4. No bullets were fired in the clash; instead, stones and clubs were used, according to sources. According to reports, the Army men died due to injuries sustained from stone-pelting by the Chinese. However, there is no official word on it, news agency PTI said.
5. The two armies are engaged in a standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh. A significant number of Chinese troops have transgressed into the Indian side at several places including Pangong Tso. The latest border feud was triggered after China took offence with India laying a key road in the Finger area around the Pangong Tso Lake. The road is crucial for India to carry out patrol. Another factor was the construction of another road connecting the Darbuk-Shayok-Daulat Beg Oldie road in Galwan Valley.
5. The border crisis started at Eastern Ladakh when Chinese troops intruded at four locations and set up forces in depth. In early May, China began building up in strength along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. This included heavy vehicles, tanks, artillery and more than 6,000 troops.
7. The ongoing standoff at Ladakh different from earlier episodes like Depsang and Chumar. This is not a clash triggered during patrolling. This is a well-thought out move on China's part to pressure India simultaneously at multiple locations.
8. China has mobilised troops at equipment at those locations, including artillery and even tanks on its side of LAC. and digging defences there. PLA has been ramping up its strategic reserves in its rear bases near LAC with artillery guns, infantry combat vehicles and heavy military equipment.
9. Meanwhile, India has also set up the intended infra in those locations. The India Army has stationed troops and equipment matching the Chinese numbers. India has decided not to stall any border infra projects because of Chinese protests. The India-China border feud straddles many points along the 3,488-km-long LAC, one prime such example being Arunachal which China claims as part of southern Tibet.
10. Although high-level efforts are on to defuse the situation, a quick resolution of this standoff at Galwan doesn't seem likely now. Chances are that it could be prolonged impasse, with India unlikely to budge even as China appears unwilling to pull back. China's state-run newspaper Global Times has already made a caim that "clashes were triggered by Indian troops as they crossed over to the Chinese side and carried out attacks on Chinese soldiers."