Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 19, 2020
China has released 10 Indian soldiers, including four officers, following the heated face-off in Galwan Valley late night of June 15 that also left 20 Indian soldiers dead. However, New Delhi maintains ‘there were no Indian troops missing in action’.
The release comes after three rounds of talks (intense negotiations through diplomatic and military channels) between senior military officers. Sources said the negotiations were kept under covers due to concerns for the safety of the soldiers. The released soldiers were sent for a medical examination and underwent a ‘debriefing’.
India has called out China for the June 15 clash. External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Chinese forces crossed to the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and attempted to build a structure. New Delhi has rejected the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) claim of sovereignty over the Galwan Valley. The border between the two countries is poorly demarcated.
In the June 15 face-off the Chinese forces are alleged to have used iron rods fitted with nails. Analysts have attributed this to the 1996 agreement between India and China that guns and explosives be prohibited along the disputed stretch of the border to deter escalation. Defence analyst Ajai Shukla has described the use of ‘customised weapons’ as ‘barbaric’. Indian sources revealed that at least 40 Chinese soldiers died in the face-off but China is yet to issue a public statement about the casualties.
Meanwhile, Beijing has outrightly blamed India for the latest incident. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said India crossed the border twice, provoking and attacking Chinese personnel which resulted in serious physical confrontation between the border forces of the two countries. New Delhi has accused China of a premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the violence and casualties. But China has demanded for the Indian side to launch an investigation and stop all provocation actions.