China's Foreign Ministry on Wednesday parried all questions related to the casualties suffered by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the Galwan Valley on Monday night.
China may have officially maintained a steady silence on the casualties suffered by its troops in the clashes with the Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley but editorials in the state-run dailies acknowledged the PLA fatalities while calling for disengagement to avert a border war.
China’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday parried all questions related to the casualties suffered by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops in the Galwan Valley on Monday night.
But the official media conceded casualties on the Chinese side with a common narrative to “avoid any notion of winners or losers and prevent any escalation of tensions”.
“China has not released details of the deaths and injuries on its side, in an attempt to avoid any notion of winners or losers and prevent any escalation of tensions, but with casualties on both sides and tensions having been simmering for a while before boiling over, the incident cannot but raise worries that the situation risks running out of control,” the editorial in the China Daily said on Wednesday.
Unsurprisingly, the Global Times, the ruling Communist Party’s publication, repeated the same in its editorial.
“It is noteworthy that the Chinese side did not disclose the number of casualties of the Chinese military, a move that aims to avoid comparing and preventing confrontational sentiments from escalating,” it said.
Interestingly, the paper, known for its aggressive jingoistic write-ups, called on the Chinese public to place trust in the country’s leadership in dealing with the border problem with India.
“On the China-India border issue, the Chinese public should trust the government and the People’s Liberation Army. They will firmly safeguard China’s territorial integrity and maintain national interests when dealing with border conflicts,” it said.
Both dailies claimed that the US was trying to move closer to India and New Delhi taking part in Indo-Pacific “orchestrated” strategy by the US against China.
While the write-ups in Chinese language media and blogs struck a jingoistic note pointing to China’s military superiority, the official media struck a common narrative of laying blame on India for the clashes but at the same time calling for restraint.
State-run Chinese language CCTV, whose 7 PM news called ‘Xinwen Lianbo’, which is watched by millions across the country, skipped the news of India-China border clash, though it reported Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s telephonic talks with External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
“The fact that neither side fired any shots during the latest clash indicates that it is still possible for the two sides to exercise damage control in the spirit of maintaining ‘peace and tranquillity’,” the China Daily editorial said.
“But to ensure there is an atmosphere conducive for dialogue, the troops in the area must disengage with each other to avoid any more casualties. After all, neither side wants to spark a border war”, it said.
The Global Times editorial said, “the clash in the Galwan Valley this time has led to casualties on both sides, indicating China-India border tensions, amid constant frictions, may spiral out of control. We notice that the leadership of the two militaries has exercised restraint after the incident, indicating that both sides would like to handle the conflict peacefully and not let the conflict escalate.”
At least 20 Indian Army personnel were killed in the clashes with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night. It was the biggest confrontation between the two militaries after their 1967 clashes in Nathu La when India lost around 80 soldiers while over 300 Chinese army personnel were killed in the face-off.