Chinese media has for the first time released footage of the deadly border clash between China’s and India’s troops in the disputed Western Himalayas region last June. The incident left four Chinese and 20 Indian soldiers dead.
The previously unseen videos were released by Chinese state media overnight. Footage of the incident shows a massive force of Indian troops advancing on a significantly less sizeable Chinese unit while crossing a mountain river.
Many of the Indian soldiers were equipped with riot helmets and shields reading ‘police’, and were wielding assorted clubs and iron bars. The Chinese, in turn, apparently had reinforcements, with a group of soldiers in riot gear showing up to help their unarmed comrades.
A bilateral accord bars the troops from the two sides from using guns at the de facto border, officially known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and they are obliged to use less sophisticated weaponry instead.
The Chinese soldiers in one video blame the escalation on the Indian troops, claiming they have been moving tents across the border. The footage also contains scenes of a night-time mass brawl between the opposing sides, but it’s difficult to determine what exactly it shows, given its low quality. It then briefly shows a wounded Chinese serviceman with a bloodied head receiving first aid.
The release of the previously unseen videos comes after the Chinese military broke its eight-month silence on the incident, revealing that a total of four soldiers had been killed in the clash and another badly injured. India’s own official toll from the skirmish stands at 20.
The tensions in the scarcely populated region have grown between China and India since early 2020, after New Delhi accused Beijing of violating the de facto border and advancing its troops into the territory it claims as its own. China, for its part, firmly rejected such allegations, laying the blame for the tensions on India instead.
The two nations have recently reached a disengagement agreement and are currently pulling their troops from the disputed border. Last summer’s escalation was the deadliest incident between China and India in decades. The two countries waged a war in the region back in 1962, but failed to properly define the border thereafter.