An American newspaper has claimed that over 60 Chinese soldiers were killed in the Galwan Valley clash with India. News Week said in an article that in the June 15 clash 60 soldiers of the Chinese PLA had been killed. This comes weeks after another report said that 30 soldiers were killed in the clash, while attributing the same to US intelligence reports.
The report also says that the failure of the PLA on the Indian border would have far reaching effects. The Chinese military had initially told the Chinese president, Xi Jinping that the focus should be on driving out opponents and recruiting loyalists.
The article says that the number of Chinese killed could exceed 60, but Beijing will not admit to the extent of the debacle. On Friday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired a two hour long meeting with the NSA and the military brass. Chief of Defence Staff later appeared before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on defence. However the China issue was not discussed.
The CDS agreed to a request by NCP leader, Sharad Pawar who sought to know the details of the border row and said that a letter would be submitted to the committee.
These developments took place after External Affairs Minister, S Jaishankar met with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi at Moscow. During the meeting both sides agreed that the troops should maintain proper distance and also ease tensions. The foreign ministers of India and China underlined the importance of disengagement at the Line of Actual Control as the first step towards deescalation of tensions.
The military commanders of India and China will meet in the next couple of days to discuss disengagement from friction points along the LAC. While no date has been fixed as yet, sources say that there are some issues under discussion before the military commanders could meet. Officials say that the military commanders would work out the process to disengage. China’s Foreign Minister, Wang Yi and his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar agreed that the de-escalation should follow comprehensive disengagement.
India told China that the massing of Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control is a cause of grave concern. Beijing was told that the provocative behaviour by the Chinese along the LAC showed complete disregard for bilateral agreements and protocols. When Yi said that the bi-lateral ties should continue on a parallel track, Jaishankar reminded him about the immense build up of Chinese troops.
China has deployed 50,000 men, tanks, missiles and 150 aircraft. While Yi spoke about thinning of troops, he had no clear answer about the massive troop build up. Jaishankar however added that while India is all in favour of bi-lateral ties, this could work well only if the borders were peaceful.