New Delhi: At least 20 Indian soldiers, including a commanding officer posted in Galwan Valley along with subedars, havildars and sepoys, were “killed in action” following a skirmish with Chinese troops Monday night.
The Indian Army initially released a statement Tuesday afternoon, noting that three officers had died in action during the violent face-off. However, later at night, the Army said 17 more soldiers had succumbed to their critical injuries since they had been exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain.
The skirmish, which took place late Monday, is the first time in 45 years that a soldier has died along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which is undefined in Ladakh.
In its statement, the Army noted that it was “firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation”.
There has been speculation that some soldiers are missing, since some had fallen into the freezing river in the valley, but the Army neither addressed this in its statement nor mentioned the injuries or deaths sustained by the Chinese side.
The clash occurred after Commanding Officer Col Santosh Babu found out that Chinese soldiers did not entirely follow through on the de-escalation process agreed upon by both side during earlier talks.
ThePrint had reported that the face-off took place on a narrow slope and some soldiers fell into the confluence of the Galwan and Shyok rivers. The face-off included stone pelting and physical clashes with barbed wire and iron rods. The soldiers who fell into the river died of hypothermia.
The bodies of the soldiers were taken by a military aircraft from Leh Wednesday afternoon and will be carried by road to their respective hometowns.
The Indian Army released details of all 20 soldiers declared killed in action. Among them was Ankush, a 21-year-old sepoy born on 4 November 1998. Sepoy Ganesh Hansda was even younger at 20 years. Sepoy Kundan Kumar Ojha died just days before his 27th birthday on 18 June.
Here is the full list of the soldiers killed
- Commanding Officer Colonel Bikumalla Santosh Babu from Hyderabad, Telangana
- Naib Subedar Nuduram Soren from Mayurbhanj, Odisha
- Naib Subedar Mandeep Singh from Patiala, Punjab
- Naib Subedar Satnam Singh (driver) from Gurdaspur, Punjab
- Havildar (gunner) K Palani from Madurai, Tamil Nadu
- Havildar Sunil Kumar from Patna, Bihar
- Havildar Bipul Roy from Meerut City, Uttar Pradesh
- Naik (Na) Deepak Kumar from Rewa, Madhya Pradesh
- Sepoy Rajesh Orang from Birbhum, West Bengal
- Sepoy Kundan Kumar Ojha from Sahibganj, Jharkhand
- Sepoy Ganesh Ram from Kanker, Chhattisgarh
- Sepoy Chandrakanta Pradhan from Kandhamal, Odisha
- Sepoy Ankush from Hamirpur, Himachal Pradesh
- Sepoy Gurbinder from Sangrur, Punjab
- Sepoy Gurtej Singh from Mansa, Punjab
- Sepoy Chandan Kumar from Bhojpur, Bihar
- Sepoy Kundan Kumar from Saharsa, Bihar
- Sepoy Aman Kumar from Samastipur, Bihar
- Sepoy Jai Kishor Singh from Vaishali, Bihar
- Sepoy Ganesh Hansda from East Singhbhum, Jharkhand