The Indian Army Thursday said that there were no soldiers “missing in action” following a violent clash with troops of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh.
There were reports that 10 Indian soldiers were missing from Monday night after the clash in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. The Chinese too suffered a few casualties, but the numbers are said to be in single digits.
The Indian Army troops who were attacked and suffered fatal casualties on Monday night were carrying weapons, Indian foreign minister S. Jaishankar clarified. However, they did not fire on their adversaries.
Major General-level dialogue took place at the site of attack at patrolling point 14 in Galwan Valley Thursday to ease out the tense situation.
Wednesday also, top Indian and Chinese military commanders talked at Galwan Valley over the violent clash along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh but the three-hour dialogue remained inconclusive.
The clash, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed, occurred on the south bank of Galwan river, which flows in an east-west direction before its confluence with Shyok river.
The dialogue was to ensure that Chinese People’s Liberation Army pulls back all its troops from the Galwan Valley and removes all the military-grade tents which house them.
Both the forces have redeployed troops at the site of the clash. Sources said that India Army officials have made clear to Chinese counterparts that they have to move back.
Major General Abhijit Bapat, who is the commander of the Indian Army’s 3 Division, raised several points with the Chinese officers with regards to the incident on the intervening night of June 15/16.
These were the first casualties faced by the Indian Army in a clash with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
Sources said Indian Army troops were outnumbered five times when they came under attack from the Chinese soldiers at patrolling point number 14 on the LAC.
China’s PLA “savagely attacked” the Indian Army personnel, according to sources in the government with knowledge of the details of the Monday night clashes between the two armies.
“The numbers were stacked up against the Indian Army troops. Yet, the Indian side decided to fight the PLA. The Indian soldiers were outnumbered 1:5 by the Chinese troopers,” a source said Wednesday.
China is also said to have used thermal imaging drones to trace the Indian soldiers scattered on the treacherous terrain before brutally attacking them.
“It was the deadliest attack carried on Indian Army personnel by Chinese military personnel in our memory,” the government source said.
“We were outnumbered,” admitted an Indian Army officer, about the clash that went on for six to seven hours.
Indian Army said that its soldiers went to the spot where the clashes happened without any animosity and were displaying friendly gestures to the Chinese side as they sought to check if the de-escalation agreement was being followed as promised.
Several Indian Army soldiers are currently “critically injured” and are undergoing treatment. The fatality numbers could increase” as the current critically injured personnel numbers are more than 10, the sources said.