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PLA casualties in Galwan clash higher than reported: Australian newspaper

India acknowledged on the night of the clash on 15 June 2020 itself that 20 of its soldiers had achieved martyrdom in the incident.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

China’s losses in the June 2020 Galwan Valley clash with India – the deadliest confrontation between the two Asian giants in over four decades – were much higher than reported with many soldiers drowning while crossing a fast-flowing, sub-zero river in darkness, an Australian daily has claimed.

The Klaxon said the evidence provided by a group of social media researchers appears to support claims that China’s casualties extended well beyond the four soldiers named by Beijing.

Asked for his reaction to the news report, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, ‘‘this is a question the relevant side should respond to.’’

The newspaper noted that the Chinese state media has almost entirely failed to cover the skirmish or its aftermath. However in February last year, eight months after the deadly clash, Beijing announced posthumous medals had been awarded to four of its soldiers who died.

The newspaper said the evidence available also shows extreme lengths Beijing has gone to in order to silence discussion about the battle – in particular, discussion about the true number of Chinese casualties. “It shows the extreme lengths Beijing has gone to in order to silence discussion about the battle.”

The Australian newspaper said a report into the clash titled “Galwan Decoded” has been prepared by the social media researchers who declined to be named on security grounds, but their findings appear to shed significant light on the saga.

The report cites a year-long investigation involving discussions with mainland Chinese bloggers, information obtained from mainland-based Chinese citizens, and media reports that have since been deleted by the Chinese authorities.

“A lot of facts about what really happened, what led to the skirmish, have been hidden by Beijing. What was told by (China) to the world were mostly fabricated stories,” the report says.

Citing “several Weibo users”, the report states that at least 38 PLA troops along with one who has already been named by Beijing as a casualty in the Galwan Valley incident were washed away and drowned that night in the clash. Of them, only one soldier, Wang, was declared among the four officially dead soldiers.

India acknowledged on the night of the clash on 15 June 2020 itself that 20 of its soldiers had achieved martyrdom in the incident.