Four Chinese military officers and soldiers were killed in last year's Galwan Valley clash in eastern Ladakh with the Indian Army, China officially acknowledged for the first time on Friday as it gave honorary titles and first-class merit citations to the deceased.
The People's Liberation Army (PLA), official newspaper of the Chinese military, announced posthumous gallantry citations for four soldiers, including the regimental commander, for their actions.
According to a report in Reuters, Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan and Wang Zhuoran died during what Chinese state media described as a "fierce struggle" against "foreign troops" that violated an agreement and crossed into the Chinese side.
The development comes more than nine months after China refused to disclose details of casualties in the bloodied fight with India.
Four Chinese soldiers, who were sacrificed in last June's border conflict, were posthumously awarded honorary titles and first-class merit citations, Central Military Commission announced Friday. A colonel, who led them and seriously injured, was conferred with honorary title. pic.twitter.com/Io9Wk3pXaU— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) February 19, 2021
India posthumously honoured five soldiers who blocked the PLA aggression with gallantry medals on Republic Day this year.
On June 15 last year, 20 soldiers of the Indian armed forces were killed in a clash with Chinese forces along the disputed border in Ladakh, making them the first fatalities on what is known as the Line of Actual Control in 45 years.
The troops were killed in close-quarter combat in the Galwan Valley as more than a month-long hostilities along the border went into a full-blown conflict. The Indian Army said both sides suffered casualties but Beijing then did not confirm any deaths.
After nine months of border standoff in eastern Ladakh, the two armies have reached an agreement on disengagement in the North and South banks of Pangong lake that mandates both sides to cease forward deployment of troops in a "phased, coordinated and verifiable" manner.
Last year, the Chinese military built several bunkers and other structures in the areas between Finger 4 and 8 and had blocked all Indian patrols beyond Finger 4, triggering a strong reaction from the Indian Army.