On June 18th, China released 10 Indian soldiers captured during the border clash on June 15th-16th.
The close-combat melee, in which no weapons were discharged left 20 Indian soldiers dead, and an undisclosed number of Chinese also dead. The Indian military said 18 troops were still being treated for serious injuries.
Indian media claimed that as many as 43 Chinese troops had died in the large-scale fistfight.
Beijing admitted that there were casualties on both sides but did not disclose the number of Chinese troops killed or wounded in the confrontation.
Regarding the release of the captured soldiers, the Indian government made no comment, but the army released a statement saying: “It is clarified that there are no Indian troops missing in action” after the fighting in the Galwan Valley area of Ladakh.
The release of the 10 soldiers followed three rounds of talks between Indian and Chinese delegations, led by major generals, near Patrol Point 14 in Galway Valley. Maj Gen Abhijit Bapat, commander of Karu-based headquarters 3 Infantry Division, and his Chinese counterpart met for the third time on June 18th.
Amidst calls for a boycott of Chinese goods, thousands attended funerals for the 20 Indian soldiers killed in the clash. Chinese flags and posters of China’s President Xi Jinping were burned in at least two cities.
India should “not underestimate China’s firm will to safeguard its territorial sovereignty,” China said after talks between its foreign minister Wang Yi and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
Jaishankar said in turn that China had launched a “pre-meditated” attack which would have a “serious impact” on relations between the world’s two most populous countries.
Before this release of captured soldiers, the Indian military claimed that none of its troops were missing in action.
“It is clarified that there are no Indian troops missing in action,” the army said in a statement.
Asked about the specific issue of the status of Indian soldiers after the clashes, external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said:
“This has been clarified by the army earlier today afternoon that there are no Indian troops missing in action.”
The last time the Chinese military had captured Indian soldiers was during the border war between the two countries in 1962. Monday night’s seven-hour brutal clash involving more than 500 rival troops also marked the first time India suffered combat fatalities in an incident involving Chinese troops since 1975.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- India Confirms 20 Soldiers Killed In Border Clash With Chinese Forces; Reports Of 43 PLA Casualties
- Chinese-Indian Tensions Ramp Up In Galwan Valley Following Clash Between Troops Of Two Countries
- Sticks, Stones and Death In Galwan Valley