China this evening returned from its custody 10 Indian soldiers involved in the 15 June skirmish at the Galwan River Valley, even as the army had yesterday clarified that no soldier was missing in action. This was the first time after the 1962 Sino-India War that the Chinese army had taken Indian soldiers into custody while returning them as per the Geneva Convention.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to chair an all-party meet in a bid to forge a broad political consensus on the situation at 5 PM. The fourth round of talks in the valley is scheduled to take place today.
Yesterday, India had asked China to confine its activities to its side of the Line of Actual Control (LoAC). It had said China must not take any unilateral action to alter it. “Given its responsible approach to border management, India is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. We expect the Chinese side to also confine its activities to its side of the LAC,” MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava had said.
In the worst flare-up along the LoAC in more than five decades, 20 Indian Army personnel, including the commanding officer of 16 Bihar, were killed in the night of 15 June at the Galwan Valley of Ladakh after a meeting of their major generals conducted to disengage troops on either side.
This is the first time in the last 45 years that Indian or Chinese troops have been killed on the LoAC. In 1975, China’s PLA had ambushed an Indian patrol in Arunachal Pradesh.
The deadly clash in the night of 15 June at Galwan Valley in Ladakh had left as many as 76 soldiers injured. On the Chinese side, there are reports of casualties, which Beijing has accepted without revealing the exact figures. News agency ANI had reported a day after the clash that there were 43 Chinese casualties.
After a clash with the enemy, the army counts its men and those missing have to be accounted for. So far, no official statement has been issued by the army or the government on the release of the soldiers.
The army, however, said yesterday that all Indian soldiers involved in the clashes with the Chinese army at the Galwan Valley had been “accounted for”. “It is clarified that there are no Indian troops missing in action,” the army said in a statement.
Among the injured 18 were serious while 58 suffered minor injuries. Sources said 18 soldiers were undergoing treatment at a hospital in Leh while 58 had been admitted to various other hospitals. They are expected to join back work in the next few days.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said on 18 June at the beginning his exchanges with chief ministers via video conference on the COVID pandemic that India had always promoted peace among nations. While India has retaliated to Chinese aggression, Modi started his address with a reference to the border clash in Galwan Valley that cost the lives of 20 Indian soldiers.