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China will release Galwan troop-casualties figures only after President Xi’s approval; unofficial toll:43

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19 June 2020

Three days after the deadly “violent face-off” between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, China is yet to officially release the number of casualties suffered by its army. The violent face-off took place on Monday night.

However, according to a report published in the South China Morning Post, the reason behind China not releasing its casualty numbers is that the numbers had to be “approved” by Chinese President Xi Jinping, a claim IndiaToday.in could not independently verify.

The report said, “A source close to the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) told the South China Morning Post that Beijing was ‘very sensitive’ about military casualties, saying all numbers had to be approved by President Xi Jinping, who heads the Central Military Commission, before being released.”

Attributing to a second unnamed source “close to the PLA”, the report said, “Beijing was being especially cautious because the clash happened in the Galwan valley, which was one of the key battlefields of the 1962 Sino-Indian war in which more than 2,000 people died.”

Besides this, the report added that the decision to not release details of casualties suffered by the Chinese army in the face-off in Galwan Valley is “probably motivated by a desire to play down the matter ahead of a key meeting with the United States”.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, PLA’s Western Theatre Command spokesman Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili said that the skirmish in the Galwan River valley had led to casualties on both sides. But he too did not elaborate on the Chinese casualties, the report said.

Sources in the Indian government are citing ‘some’ U.S. intelligence reports which claim that 35 Chinese soldiers were killed during the violent clash with the Indian army. The figure, however, is a combination of a total number of soldiers killed and wounded.Government sources revealed to media that the Chinese side suffered “proportionate casualties” but it does not have a clear picture of the number of Chinese soldiers killed as well as those injured in the clash.

India Today journalist Rajdeep Sardesai wrote that ANI claimed based on “Chinese intercepts” that “43 Chinese soldiers [were] killed in the clashes”. He further wrote that there hasn’t been any confirmation from the Chinese side.Another figure was shared by Times Now as ‘breaking news’ on June 17 — “China accepts 30 soldiers have been killed during the Ladakh standoff” —  citing Global Times. The tweets were later deleted as they turned out to be fake.

The Chinese government has not disclosed the number of fatalities on their side. The Editor-in-Chief of  Global Times accepted the casualties but did not reveal any figures.

Hu tweeted – Chinese side didn’t release number of PLA casualties in clash with Indian soldiers. My understanding is the Chinese side doesn’t want people of the two countries to compare the casualties number so to avoid stoking public mood. This is goodwill from Beijing.

BBC wrote – China has not released casualty figures. Unconfirmed reports in Indian media say at least 40 Chinese soldiers died. Some Indian soldiers are still believed to be missing. Earlier PM Modi said the Indian deaths “will not be in vain” and that India would be “proud that our soldiers died fighting the Chinese” in the clash in the Ladakh region on Monday.

CNN Wrote: At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a bloody brawl with Chinese troops on Monday in the Galwan Valley, close to Aksai Chin, an area controlled by China but claimed by both countries. It is unclear if or how many Chinese soldiers died.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke out in favour of a diplomatic resolution to the India-China border conflict in his phone call with his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar. Wang said “mutual suspicion and friction are the way of evil and run counter to the fundamental wishes of both countries’ people,” according to a statement released by China’s foreign ministry.

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