Monday, February 6, 2023
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‘Perilous, worst clash in decades’ — How foreign media reacted to India-China face-off

Media coverage in Pakistan, Nepal, China, and the West agrees Monday's Galwan clash was historic, but also cautions that India can't afford to go to war with China.

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New Delhi: At least 20 Indian soldiers died after clashes with Chinese troops at the Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh late Monday evening. 

This was the first time in 45 years that soldiers have died in clash with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

While the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has accused Beijing of trying to unilaterally change the status quo in the area, the Western Theatre Command of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has blamed it on India, claiming Galwan Valley as Chinese territory.

The matter has been reported widely by the international media. While many have said the clash was “historic”, some suspect India’s road building exercise in the valley led to the face-off. Here is a round-up of foreign media reporting on the violent face-off.


A Geo News’ report Tuesday noted how Prime Minister Narendra Modi was receiving flak for his silence on the clashes. Titled ‘Indians slam PM Modi for staying silent over Ladakh face-off with China’, the report quoted tweets by former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, journalists Smita Sharma, Barkha Dutt and Rana Ayub, as well as defence analyst Ajai Shukla who have questioned the PM’s silence. 

The same day, Geo News also published a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), which said Pakistan and China have a “qualitative edge” over India in terms of nuclear weapons. 

Pakistani newspaper Dawn’s coverage of the clash led with Beijing’s claim of Indian soldiers making the first attack.

Quoting agency reports, the report noted that India and China have “long squabbled about their border but recent weeks have seen an escalation”.

It said, “…the Chinese foreign ministry said only last week a ‘positive consensus’ was reached following ‘effective communication’.”

In another report, Dawn quoted Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s reaction to the face-off, the country was “observing the developments carefully but that it held India responsible for the conflict”.

Also read: India shifts China diplomacy strategy to high gear after Galwan clash, military-level talks on


The Himalayan Times called the clash “an unfortunate turn of events” and asserted that “not a single shot had been fired”.

In a report titled ‘India Says 3 Soldiers Killed In Standoff With Chinese Troops’ Tuesday, The Rising Nepal Daily says India’s attempt at building “a strategic road connecting the region to an airstrip close to China” had escalated tensions.

The paper also published two op-eds Wednesday, one by editor Namrata Sharma and another by analyst Rambhakta Thakur, on Nepal’s push for a new map that includes the disputed areas of Kalapani, Lipulekh and Limpiyadhura

While Sharma commended Nepal’s move to assert sovereignty, Thakur noted that since the 1962 India-China War “Nepal has been asking to go for survey in the disputed areas which was being ignored for this or that reasons by India”. 

Western media 

The New York Times called the Galwan Valley stand-off theworst clash in decades” and suggested that Home Minister Amit Shah played a role in aggravating things by vowing to take back Aksai Chin in a speech last year.

The report referred to India and China as “nuclear-armed rivals” and held both their “nationalist leaders” responsible for “adding tinder to a long-smoldering conflict”.

However, it noted that China has an upper hand over India in terms of military might, especially since Nepal and Sri Lanka, “once reliable India allies”, have “titled” towards China.

Political scientist Ian Hall wrote in The Conversation that the clash could be China’s way of “humiliating India for perceived transgressions”, like cosying up to the US, or to “send a message to others — in Taiwan, Japan, Southeast Asia, or elsewhere”. 

For Reuters, Sanjeev Miglani pointed out “India’s impatience” with Modi’s silence, and how the situation is proving to be the “greatest foreign policy challenge” for him since he entered office in 2014. 

In the Washington DC-based magazine Diplomat, author Ankit Panda said the last time the two countries used firearms was in 1975 in the Sikkim sector. This is now a “a 21st century tipping point”, more serious than the 2017 Doklam standoff, he wrote.

However, he said the “small silver lining” could be that the two nations have been in dialogue through military channels.

In his comment for The Economist, defence editor Shashank Joshi mentioned that “India’s government played down the severity of the crisis” in the last month and India’s build-up of infrastructure in the region seems to have been the trigger for Monday’s clash.

Like Panda, Joshi also said India has been “anxious” over China’s wooing of Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Ashley J. Tellis, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said India-China relations cannot go back to as it were in the past since lives have been lost.

In an Axios report, Michael Kugelman, a South Asia expert, questioned whether guns were used in the “perilous” clash, considering the number of fatalities.

Meanwhile, UK’s The Telegraph insisted there were only “hand-to-hand clashes” while The New York Times said “wooden clubs…some possibly studded with nails or wrapped in barbed wire” could have been used. 

British daily The Guardian’s headline mentioned that the troops “fought with rocks”. The report talked about “India’s shock and caution to the loss of at least 20 soldiers” and mentioned UN Secretary General António Guterres’ remark on the clash.

Also read: 1954 Panchsheel pact to Galwan Valley ‘violence’ — India-China relations in last 7 decades

Chinese and Southeast Asian media

In an editorial piece, Chinese paper Global Times referred to the face-off as a “physical fight”.

“The arrogance and recklessness of the Indian side is the main reason for the consistent tensions along China-India borders.” 

Meanwhile, People’s Daily reported Chinese military spokesperson Zhang Shuili’s remarks against India in a report titled ‘Chinese military urges India to return to correct track of dialogue, negotiations’.

The South China Morning Post’s latest report carried the Chinese army’s live-fire drill in Tibet “as tensions with India escalated following a deadly clash on the disputed Himalayan border”. The drill took place more than 1,000 km from the site where the troops had clashed Monday night, it said. 

The Straits Times took the story forward, publishing a report Wednesday on India’s deteriorating ties with Nepal, indicating “border troubles with its neighbours have continued to intensify beyond China”.

Japanese paper Nikkei Asian Review’s report included a graph comparing India and China’s military arsenal, to highlight the latter’s military might. Public policy professor James Crabtree’s piece in the paper tried to put the clash in context as it pointed out that South Asian nations “will be among the most significant losers” of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Also read: China departed from LAC consensus, wanted to unilaterally change status quo, says India


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  1. You know i hate terrorists but i hate journalist like are pro congress and questioning everything that GOI stands for, in stead of supporting the govt. You have always spread propoganda in this should be ashamed.i hope you never find peace in your life traitor.

  2. Whatever may be the reason both china and should have to avoid a war. A war is not beneficial to India or china or to the world. Pakistan and Communist Nepal acting as Per to China. It will not be good for these nations. India is not afraid of any kind of evil alliance. Because India is always dealings relations with love, honesty and dharma. We believes in dharma but surely fight for the victory of Dharma. China already occupied 43000sq km of Indian land illegally in 1962 war. We have to negotiate for this land and to settle it amicably. At the same time if it required a war, we have te wage the war happily without thinking about the consequence. Jai Hind.

  3. China has too much to handle in the South China Sea a war with india means several fronts exposed,I don’t think anyone wants a war but China is acting aggressively it needs to be careful where all it could exert .On ndtv yes it usually takes pro congress views soometimes they are absolutely bizarre for a viewer who looks for objectives news and discussions.

  4. If the relative comparison of military strength, economic strength or GDP etc. of two adversaries were to be the determing factors of the outcome of a war then USA would not be humiliated in Vietnam and almost exhausted in Afghanistan.
    Neither China be taught a lesson by Vietnam.
    Nor Pandvas would ever go to war against Kourvas in Mahabharta.
    Although it is against the instincts of this publication and its Writers and Editors, but the decent thing to-do is to stand for our country and our armed forces and to give a boost to the morale of our countrymen. If you find this too difficult to digest then at least stop acting as carriers of Pshyc Ops of the creators of Wuhan Virus!

  5. One more point Pia Kutty – if it comes to that war, we Indians are ready to give up everything. Life will become tough for us. It’s okay. These Chinese blaggards need someone to tame them. Let it be us Indians.

  6. Pia Kutty. Go back to some nursery class kiddo. Indian army first provoked says the Chinese, and you support their narration. Even if this was true, Indian army took the first step because those rascals trespassed into our territory. Galwan is an out and out Indian / Ladhaki name. These bloody Chinese were nowhere near our borders. They came here after encroaching Tibet. And your negative writeup is complete bullshit. Look at the Chinese idiots – on the mountains, against India. On the seas, against Vietnam, Philippines, Indonesia. On the high seas, against Japan. On air, against Taiwan. On their so called own land, against Hong Kong. They are having trouble in East Turkestan and Shaksgam. Northern China (Manchuria) is an occupied territory. These goons are rogues. They are having and will be in trouble everywhere. Trade wars with India and US will not be easy. So, stop your anti-Indian communist rant and go back to school.

  7. I agree with Boycott print….they have bread negativity and are responsible for divide in views amongst the common man

  8. Seeing the comment section I am very happy how united we r. Shekhar Gupta and cooperation now started criticising country in its shitty journalist newspaper’s desperation to target modi.. Every viewpoint picked is against India. Don’t worry ur news outlet finds its place as to toilet paper..

  9. Chinese Media with China.
    Good news is – The Print, Quint, NDTV, Telegraph, National Herald, The Hindu, TOI, Indian Express, Anand Bazar Patrika, Hindustan Times, India Today, The Wire etc are also with China.

    So, no wonder Pakistani Media quoting Burkha Dutt, Rana Ayub etc… as they are the real prestitutes.

  10. Article is in bad taste . Pia’s narration tries to prove that Modi caused Indo-China relation to deteriorate. Several years back then defence minister George Fernandes had said “Not Pakistan but China is our enemy No1 ” This speaks volumes of the true relationship that existed between the two all these years. So Modi tried a different way of diplomacy which can be based upon the rapport between two national heads . What’s wrong in it ?

  11. Listen Media Told That India Can’t Afford To Go war with China Totally Senseless If China Ever Try To Cross Its Limits Then Indian Army Will Answer Without Hesitation We Have The Fourth Powerfull Milletry Power in The world Jst One step Down To China If They Fought We Will fought And China Can Not Go war with India With Full Power Becz China Had lot Of issues In border With differnt Countries And Its Issue Over In Taiwan Is main problem In South China Sea Where USA And China are already Face To Face Nd China Knows Well That It can Not afford To Go war With USA On Second Hand If They Will fought With India With Their Friend Countries Then Dont forget Its Not Only China Who Have Friends In the world,India Hav Also Many Friends Countries ,World War Will Start China Knows It very well, China Had border Issue With Approximately Every Countries Whose Border Touches With China,So It Is Senseless To Say that India Cross The Border First,History Reperesent That China Wants To Control Other Countries Territory So Clearly India is Not Responsible,One Thing We Want To clear India Can fearlessly Go War With China If China Cross Its Limits If They Have Nuclear Weapons Then India Is also A nuclear country ,So War Is Not Good For The World I wish No war Will Happen Ever ,Indian Army Will Never Accpt China Any Interfare In Our Country We Never Interfare In Any Territory Of Any country But If Any One cross The Limits Then we Know How To Protect Our Integrity🇮🇳😎

      • If It comes to Defending our nation, yes we will.
        Again, such a question is not to be directed at others, but at one’s own self.
        For me, and many like me, My Country’ s sovereignty is worth defending even at the cost of my life.

        Yes war is not an answer, war breeds catastrophy, but If it comes to it, We Will Enlist, Not speaking for you, Speaking for Myself and a those many that I know will do it gladly

  12. So you people have selected everything negative.I guess you people have also received some funds from china.Bikhario.

  13. Anti india media! When country needs positive journalism like Taiwan media did by photo of the day ” India’s rama…Killing 🐉 Dragons ”

    As a indian I don’t like your collective Negative 📰 news! By the way #Boycott Print campaign will not be started as i 💭 think it should be!!!

  14. This is Nehru’s legacy. He and his egoistic and communist Defence Minister Krishna Menon were responsible for the 1962 fiasco and situation has only worsened since then.

  15. ‘The Print’ is totally garbage. Selective journalism– it scans for tit bits of News of Foreign media, to advertise India in low light. Taiwan posted an image of Lord Rama aiming a big Arrow on the dragon, is 1 of the instances of how the World visualizes China. China seems to have problems with almost everyone, be it, Mongolia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Indonesia, Kazakistan etc. and yet Print chooses to ignore that. Journalism at a new low.

  16. This news portal has begun to be against india while opposing modi govt. There is a difference when it comes to sovereignty. The attack was not against modi but against india. If this portal doesn’t change its stance then they will have it from the public and soon cases will be filed and then this portal will be seen begging

  17. Whoa… Pia, Dint get a single source that was positive about India ? I have doubt on her professional capability. Have to see other articles to assess her integrity to report without bias.
    Shekhar Gupta’s bunch is like this ? I am disappointed.

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