A combination photo shows deployments (top) and deployments removed on an area known as Finger 5, at Pangong Tso, in this handout satellite image composite. Picture: ©Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS
A combination photo shows deployments (top) and deployments removed on an area known as Finger 5, at Pangong Tso, in this handout satellite image composite. Picture: ©Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

China said four of its troops died last June in a violent border conflict with India, the first detailed account of Chinese casualties from that time.

The PLA Daily named the four soldiers as Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran.

“These heroic border guards left their youth, blood, and even life in the Karakoram Plateau and built a towering boundary monument,” the PLA Daily said, referring to an area spanning India, China and Pakistan.

The Central Military Commission of China gave the men awards for their role in defending the country, it added.

India and China moved thousands of soldiers, tanks, artillery to their 3,488km border after clashes in the Galwan valley in the disputed border area of Ladakh last June. India had said it lost 20 soldiers in one of the most violent encounters on the contested frontier in decades. A Chinese military spokesperson said at the time there were casualties on both sides without elaborating

China and India have recently begun pulling back their troops from Pangong Lake along their Himalayan border, officials on both sides said, but other areas of conflict between the two neighbours have yet to be addressed.

The Communist Party-backed Global Times said it was “noticeable” that the PLA Daily report used “foreign military” to refer to the Indian military, saying that it showed “restraint” on China’s part.

As troops from both sides move back, “the casualty announcement could be part of a larger effort to stir patriotic support and display resolve in the ongoing standoff with India,” said Bates Gill, a professor of Asia-Pacific security studies at Macquarie University in Sydney.

Bloomberg

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