Written by Prakriti Panwar, a grade 11 student.
The Galwan River, which runs from the Aksai Chin region of China to Ladakh (India) is what makes the area a valley. The region is a disputed one and falls under the LAC or the Line of Actual Control. The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is a vast, empty piece of land that lies between Indian Regions and Chinese Lands near the border. It is different from the LOC which lies between Jammu and Kashmir, and Pakistan occupied Kashmir, with a clear demarcation line which is included in the maps of both the countries.
Since 1993, several agreements between India and China have been signed to ‘maintain peace and tranquility on the border’. However, over the past few weeks, soldiers on both sides of the border were equipped, which created tensions. Eventually, the Chinese moved into the Indian part of the LAC. A meeting held on June 6 between the military commanders of both armies, mutually decided that a disengagement process would take place. This was to be put into action by creating a ‘buffer zone’ to prevent battles between the two troops and both armies had been instructed to step a kilometre back from where they were.
The major conflict of the Galwan Valley, which martyred 20 brave hearts of ours, took place on 15th June, when Colonel Santosh Babu, commander of the 16th Bihar Regiment, noticed a Chinese camp in the area. The camp was not supposed to be there and hence Colonel Babu and his men went to take it down. They did so without the use of any arms to prevent escalation since it was a part of the 1996 agreement.
The Chinese soldiers used brutal methods to fight Indian troops by using weapons such as iron rods studded with sharp nails. The low temperature of the valley, as well as the fast- flowing Galwan river further worsened the situation and made it a difficult fight. Though India publicly addressed the fact that there were twenty casualties on this side, China failed to release any sort of information. However, according to an American Intelligence report, there were approximately 35 causalities on China’s side.
During a meeting which took place on 16 June, Major Generals from both the armies came to an understanding. The Chinese were allowed to fly in a helicopter to carry their soldiers back. An All -Party Meet also took place on 20th June, to discuss possible actions.
For the first time in 45 years, such grave casualties had occurred ( due to this attack).. However, the brave effort of the martyrs definitely did not go in vain. As the IAF (Indian Airforce) Chief , RKS Bhadauria, has correctly pointed out, “The gallant actions in a highly-challenging situation have demonstrated our resolve to protect India’s sovereignty at any cost.”