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Troops Fought Chinese Army for 17-20 Hours, Says ITBP in First Account of Galwan Valley Clash

Image for representation.

Image for representation.

A total of 294 ITBP force personnel have been awarded the Director General (DG) commendation for displaying bravery during recent skirmishes with Chinese troops.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel "fought the whole night" and gave a befitting reply to the Chinese troops during the recent skirmishes in eastern Ladakh, the border force said on Friday.

It said a total of 294 ITBP personnel have been awarded the Director General (DG) commendation for displaying bravery during these skirmishes.

In its first official account of the standoff between the two militaries, the ITBP revealed how its troops "not only effectively used shield to protect themselves but also responded fiercely to the advancing PLA (People's Liberation Army) troops and brought the situation under control".

The ITBP said its troops "fought the whole night" in the area and they received the minimum casualties, while giving a befitting reply to the stone-pelters of the PLA.

"At places, they (ITBP) gave a determined standoff for about 17-20 hours throughout. Due to the high-altitude training and manoeuver experience of the force in the Himalayas, the ITBP troops kept the PLA troops at bay and due to the all-out and befitting response of ITBP jawans at almost all fronts, many areas were safeguarded in the hyper-sensitive areas," it said.

The ITBP added that recommendations for awarding gallantry medals to 21 troops posted in this area, led by a Commandant-rank officer, have been sent to the government. "Also, 294 personnel have been awarded with the DG's commendation rolls and insignias by ITBP chief S S Deswal on the eve of the Independence Day," it said.

The force said the troops displayed the highest order of professional skills and fought shoulder-to-shoulder and also brought the injured Indian Army troops to the rear.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in a violent faceoff with the Chinese troops in the eastern Ladakh area on the intervening night of June 15-16. While China has accepted that it also suffered fatalities, it has not given out exact numbers.

Officials said the ITBP retrieved the bodies and the injured Army personnel from the freezing Galwan river after the two sides had a violent fight.

It added that six personnel of the force have also been awarded with the same DG commendation for showing courage in anti-Naxal operations in Chhattisgarh. Also, among the Independence Day decorations are recommendations for the home minister's special operations medal to 358 ITBP and other paramilitary forces personnel for their dedicated services in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The names of 318 ITBP personnel and 40 other CAPF personnel have been sent for award of Union home minister special operations medals for their dedicated services in the fight against COVID-19," it said.

The force is operating over 10,000-bedded Covid-19 Sardar Patel hospital, the country's largest facility, at Radha Soami Beas in Delhi's Chhattarpur that opened on July 5. It also set up the first coronavirus quarantine facility in the Chhawla area of Delhi in January, besides running Central Armed Police Forces Referral hospital in Greater Noida.

The 90,000-personnel strong ITBP is the primarily tasked to guard the 3,488-km long Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China that runs from the Karakoram Pass in Ladakh to Jachep La in Arunachal Pradesh.

With PTI inputs

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