India lost its 20 bravehearts last week in the violent clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley of Eastern Ladakh. Now there has been many questions arising from everywhere regarding the clash. Let’s have a look at what actually happened at the border.
A Chinese observation post, had been set up at the Indian post near the Y Junction of Shyok and Galwan rivers in the eastern Ladakh sector, where at later stage arrived at an agreement to remove it.
According to sources, the Indian security forces including the 16 Bihar Regiment were asked to ensure that the post was removed by the Chinese after which a small patrol was sent to convey the message. Commanding Officer of the 16 Bihar infantry battalion controlling the area Colonel B Santosh Babu even held talks with a counterpart Chinese officer on the day after the Chinese dismantled the camp.
But on June 14, the camp appeared again overnight.
On June 15, Colonel Babu decided to personally lead a team to the camp. The Chinese observation post was deployed with 10-12 soldiers and the Indian patrol asked them to move back as per the agreement in the senior level military talks between the two armies.
At 7 pm, Colonel Babu along with a team of about 35 men, including two Majors, headed to the post by foot.
They went on to tell the Chinese to go back further in their territory as they were on Indian soil.
Astonishingly, it was not the usual Chinese troops that are normally deployed in the area. In a belief of running into troops and officers they already know, the new faces gave men of 16 Bihar a surprise.
Meanwhile, by the time the first Indian patrol returned from the site, the Chinese came back with 300-350 people.
Upon the arrival of the Indian team, the Chinese troops were aggressive. When Colonel Babu inquired about re-appearance of the post, a Chinese soldier stepped up and gave a hard push at the Colonel with foul language in Chinese language.
The Indian team pounced on the Chinese. The fight strictly was a proper fist-fight with no melee weapons of any kind. This was the first brawl and ended about 30 minutes later with injuries on both sides, but the Indian team prevailing.
Also it is reported that, the Chinese had already built-up troops on higher ground around the observation post and kept the stones and weapons ready to attack Indian troops.
The new Chinese troops overpowered that forced Colonel Babu to move back across the LAC.
The crossing of the Indian team into the Chinese side after witnessing the movement on their side, sparked the second conflict. It was in this second brawl that most of the casualties would be inflicted.
“The boys were angry and aggressive. You can imagine how much they wanted to teach a lesson to the aggressors,” an Army officer deployed near the Shyok-Galwan confluence a few kilometres from the brawl point told India Today TV.
Colonel Babu like he expected, saw more Chinese troops of the ‘new kind’, waiting in positions both on the banks of the Galwan as well as in positions up on a ridge to the right. When Indian troops started reaching the post, the Chinese started pelting stones.
At around 9 pm, the Colonel was hit hard by a large stone and unfortunately fell into the Galwan River. This second scuffle went on for about 45 minutes and also it was at this point of time when casualties were piled up.
A crucial aspect of brawl No. 2 is that the fighting spread into several different pockets across the LAC. While some have imagined it to be one big crowd of men fighting each other like a mob, the brawl actually separated into different groups, with nearly 300 men fighting each other. When the fighting stopped, several bodies of both Indian and Chinese troops were in the river, including the Indian Commanding Officer.
After a rigorous hand-to-hand fighting, including the use of metal spiked clubs by the Chinese and barbed-wire wrapped rods, the two sides disengaged and things fell quiet. For an hour till 11 pm, both sides were given time to recover bodies.
Colonel Babu’s body and those of some of the other jawans were carried back to the Indian side. The team went emotional after they saw their Commanding officer dying before their eyes.
While recovering the bodies, the Indian side could hear hum of a quadcopter drone, triggering a third scuffle. The drone was moving through the valley, possibly using night vision or infrared cameras to map the damage and mount another assault on survivors.
Ghatak platoons from both the 16 Bihar as well as 3 Punjab Regiment arrived in large numbers. Every infantry battalion has Ghatak platoons that lead attacks and function as ‘shock troops’.
The clash broke out again around 11 pm. In the conflict, many soldiers fell to the Galwan River. The fighting continued for over five hours. India has reportedly handed over the bodies of 16 Chinese soldiers after the third phase of the conflict. At the same time, it became clear that the conflict was caused by China’s deployment of new troops in the Galwan Valley, contrary to usual practice. This clearly indicates that China has aimed at fighting rather than negotiating with each other.
(Inputs from India Today, ANI)