Amidst the latest stand-off between India and China along the Line of Actual Control at Galwan, Ladakh on Monday, casualties have been reported from both sides. The Indian Army has released a statement saying that three Indian soldiers had martyred, including the Commanding Officer of a battalion at Galwan valley in a violent faceoff on Monday night. The official statement said that it took place during the de-escalation process underway in the Galwan valley. It reported that no bullets were fired but the Chinese troops pelted stones and clubs.
While India had stated the number of casualties on its side, the Chinese authorities are yet to reveal the official figures, though the Editor of Global Times confirmed that there were indeed casualties on the Chinese side as well. The journalists at Global Times, the English version of Chinese state media, seemed to have been downplaying the casualties on their side via contradictory claims at different points. While expecting transparency from the Communist party, known to withhold critical information, is a bit too much, the over-enthusiasm of its paid reporters have cast aspersions about the possible damage inflicted by the Indian Army on the Chinese notion of invincibility.
Chinese State Machinery in dilemma
Wang Wenmen, the Chief reporter and opinion writer at Global Times, initially tweeted that 5 soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army were killed by the Indian Army and a total of 11 personnel were injured during the scuffle between the two forces at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). However, she later deleted her tweet, citing unprofessional behaviour by Indian media. She wrote, “I cited an Indian source about a physical clash at LAC China-India border yesterday. No confirmation from the official Chinese source regarding casualties yet. It is unprofessional for Indian media to say this is official news from the Chinese side.”
I cited an Indian source of @NewsLineIFE about a physical clash at LAC China-India border yesterday. No confirmation from the official Chinese source regarding casualties yet. It is unprofessional for Indian media to say this is official news from the Chinese side. @IndiaToday pic.twitter.com/OIGBKq61Gn— Wang Wenwen (@WenwenWang1127) June 16, 2020
Another journalist with the Global Times, Liu Xin cited experts to conclude that Indian soldiers ‘severely assaulted’ Chinese army. In a bid to whitewash the casualties on the Chinese side, she later tweeted that there was no information from the Chinese authorities about the casualties and injuries succumbed by their Army personnel.
Casualties are on both sides; and Indian soldiers severely assaulted Chinese soldiers, experts https://t.co/5ugtODGHDA— Liu Xin (@LiuXin_Emily) June 16, 2020
Hu Xijin, the Editor-in-Chief of Global Times, conceded that the Chinese army suffered casualties during the physical clash in the Galwan Valley. But, he put up a strong face by warning the Indian side to not be arrogant and make the mistake of considering China’s supposed restraint as their weakness. “China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it.”
Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash. I want to tell the Indian side, don’t be arrogant and misread China’s restraint as being weak. China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it.— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) June 16, 2020
Fearing wrath from the Communist Party of China (CCP), Global Times tweeted that its official account never reported the exact number of casualties on the Chinese side. “The Global Times cannot confirm the exact number at this point”, the tabloid reiterated. According to a report by the Express which relies on a tweet by journalist Aditya Raj Kaul, China has lost a total of 4-5 soldiers.
The official Global Times accounts have NEVER reported the exact casualties on the Chinese side. The Global Times CANNOT confirm the number at the moment.— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) June 16, 2020
While China is confirming casualties, the Communist state and its propaganda arms seem to be going on overdrive to not only hide the number of casualties on their side, but is also trying to paint India as the aggressor in the situation. However, as per all reports, it seems to be the Chinese side that initiated the scuffle and it was India that was fighting the aggression off.
About 5000 Chinese army personnel, under the garb of a military exercise, diverted their movement towards the Indian side of the LAC (Line of Actual Control). The current stand-off began on May 5-6 and has been continuing all along the LAC up to Sikkim. The Indian Army had matched the level of their counterparts and had stopped them from conducting movements in several areas. As per the ANI report, Indian forces had also been airlifted from other high altitude areas to the Eastern Ladakh sector.
Last month, the Chinese army reportedly targeted the Indian Army, in complete disregard for professionalism, with stones, sticks, and clubs bearing barbed wires. Sources told ANI that the behaviour of Chinese troops has been reminiscent of the stone pelters in Kashmir who are funded by Pakistan. The Chinese troops came armed with sticks, clubs with barbed wires and stones in an area near the Pangong Tso lake during a face-off with Indian troops there, the source revealed.