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First fatalities reported on India-China border after 1975

First fatalities reported on India-China border after 1975

Not a bullet has been fired by either side on the India-China border since 1975. Whenever tensions along the long border between both the countries in the Himalayas rose, this was one of the most oft-repeated responses from the experts.

It would still continue to be as the dangerous escalation yesterday, which resulted in first fatalities being reported on either side since 1975, is being reported as violent hand-to-hand scuffles.

“During the de-escalation process in the Galwan Valley, a violent face-off took place yesterday night with casualties. The loss of lives on the Indian side includes an officer and two soldiers. Senior military officials of the two sides are currently meeting at the venue to defuse the situation,” the Indian Army said in a statement.

Ironically, the "face-off" is taking place as both India and China commemorate 70 years of diplomatic ties.

<img class="wp-image-3276 size-full" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/b9b13e875c1f78bb702960b0648c52c9.jpg" alt="" width="1999" height="1309" /> Colonel Prasenjit Kar, Colonel Yang Zi Ming and other officers during Diwali celebrations at Bum-La in Arunachal Pradesh on Nov 7, 2018. The Indian Army and the China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) held ceremonial border personnel meeting to commemorate joint celebrations of Diwali organised by the Indian Army at Bum-La. (IANS)

The last time India suffered casualties against China was in 1975 when four Indian soldiers died at Tulung La in Arunachal Pradesh after being ambushed by the Chinese.

William Borders, a former foreign correspondent who rose to senior editing positions at <em>The New York Times</em>, reported the incident. "The Indian Government charged today that Chinese troops had crossed the border and killed four Indian soldiers in an ‘unprovoked and unjustified’ incident earlier this week. The ambush was well within the Indian territory in an area which has been regularly patrolled by us for many years, said a government spokesman," Borders' <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1975/11/02/archives/indians-say-china-slew-4-at-border-protest-charges-unjustified-and.html">report published in <em>The New York Times</em></a> on November 1, 1975, said.

"The four slain Indians were first reported missing. Their deaths were subsequently confirmed through diplomatic channels," it said further.

<img class="alignnone size-full wp-image-3275" src="https://indianarrative.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/china.jpg" alt="" />

Another report published in French daily <em>Le Monde</em> a few days later, mentioned how Chinese projected the killings as an act of defence.

"China confirmed on Monday November 3 that an incident on the Sino-Indian border left four Indian dead on October 20. It rejects responsibility for the case in India. According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the incident took place at the Tulung Pass. A group of Indian soldiers are said to have crossed the ‘line of control’ and to shoot personnel at the civilian post at Chuna. The ministry issued a protest note on October 22 to India's charge d'affaires in Beijing, and informed him that during the ‘self-defense response,’ station personnel ‘had killed four Indian soldiers, but that the Chinese side was ready at any time to let the Indian side bring back the bodies of the killed soldiers.’ On October 28, a representative of India is said to have recovered the bodies after signing a receipt,” said <a href="https://www.lemonde.fr/archives/article/1975/11/05/pekin-demeure-favorable-a-une-negociation-sur-le-trace-des-frontieres_2583552_1819218.html">the report published on November 5, 1975</a>.

India's Ministry of External Affairs, while detailing the highs and lows of India-China relationship, mentions how the 1962 conflict led to a serious setback in bilateral relations between both the countries.

"Though both countries restored ambassadorial relations in 1976 it was the visit of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to China in December 1988 that revived bilateral ties and set a new paradigm for India-China relations," the ministry mentions in a <a href="https://mea.gov.in/photo-features.htm?895/Prime+Ministerial+Visits+to+China">photo feature</a>.

Relations were restored but the faith certainly not. Nor will it ever be if Beijing continues with its misadventures..