Chinese released water at high speed; charged, pushed Indian Army personnel and many fell into river, says official.
The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) meticulously planned the attack on Indian troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan for at least two days, a senior government official said.
The Chinese blocked small rivulets in heightened areas, releasing water at high speed when Indian Army personnel appeared at the disputed site in Galwan area on June 15. “The strong gush of water made the men lose balance. The Chinese charged, pushed the Army personnel and many fell into the Galwan river,” the official said.
The Chinese did a reconnaissance by flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) to see the strength of the Indian troops and accordingly bolstered their presence on the other side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the official stated.
The Hindu reported on Wednesday that the clash took place after Colonel Santosh Babu, who was commanding the unit, dismantled a tent erected by the Chinese and later set it on fire. During the June 6 military level talks, the two sides decided to remove the tent. It has now emerged that the tent was destroyed two days before the June 15 clash. When Indian troopers were patrolling the contested site, the Chinese threw boulders on them and unleashed strong current of water by unblocking the rivulets.
The Chinese were wearing body protecters, helmets and carried spiked batons, the official noted.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had issued a statement that the “Chinese side took premeditated and planned action that was directly responsible for the resulting violence and casualties.”
The official said, “The patrolling team walked into an ambush. The area had witnessed clashes on May 5 and the attack took place despite a high alert. The men were outnumbered by the Chinese. No gunshot was fired”.
As reported, some men “died on the spot” and the exercise to locate the missing bodies continued till late hours of June 16. As many as 20 Army personnel were killed and several injured.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), deployed with the Army along the LAC, helped move the injured to the base camp the next day. An ITBP rescue team trekked 3-4 km the next day to evacuate the injured.
At least 20 helicopter sorties from the base camp in Galwan were undertaken to evacuate the injured and retrieve the bodies.
The clash, a first of its kind in the last 45 years, came amidst a “de-escalation” process that was started last week after a month long stand-off between troops at several points along the LAC in Ladakh and Sikkim.
With inputs from The Hindu