China has not released the number of casualties suffered by its army in the Galwan Valley face-off. Report suggests the numbers won’t be released unless President Xi Jinping gives his nod.

New Delhi June 18:

Three days after the deadly “violent face-off” between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh, China is yet to officially release the number of casualties suffered by its army. The violent face-off took place on Monday night.

On Tuesday, the Indian Army issued a statement saying 20 soldiers, including a colonel-rank officer, were killed in the face-off with Chinese troops.

The Indian Army statement added that casualties were suffered on both sides. Later in the day, China’s foreign ministry admitted that there was a face-off but did not release any numbers of the casualties suffered by its army.

However, according to a report published in the South China Morning Post, the reason behind China not releasing its casualty numbers is that the numbers had to be “approved” by Chinese President Xi Jinping, a claim could not independently verify.

The report said, “A source close to the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) told the South China Morning Post that Beijing was ‘very sensitive’ about military casualties, saying all numbers had to be approved by President Xi Jinping, who heads the Central Military Commission, before being released.”

Attributing to a second unnamed source “close to the PLA”, the report said, “Beijing was being especially cautious because the clash happened in the Galwan valley, which was one of the key battlefields of the 1962 Sino-Indian war in which more than 2,000 people died.”

Besides this, the report added that the decision to not release details of casualties suffered by the Chinese army in the face-off in Galwan Valley is “probably motivated by a desire to play down the matter ahead of a key meeting with the United States”.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, PLA’s Western Theatre Command spokesman Senior Colonel Zhang Shuili said that the skirmish in the Galwan River valley had led to casualties on both sides. But he too did not elaborate on the Chinese casualties, the report said.

Casualties on the Chinese side were also confirmed by Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief on the English edition of Global Times, a mouthpiece of the Chinese government, who in a tweet said the Chinese side also suffered casualties in Galwan Valley face-off.

“Based on what I know, Chinese side also suffered casualties in the Galwan Valley physical clash. I want to tell the Indian side, don’t be arrogant and misread China’s restraint as being weak. China doesn’t want to have a clash with India, but we don’t fear it,” Hu Xijin said in a tweet.

However, soon the Global Times officially distanced itself from tweets of its employees. In a tweet it said, “The official Global Times accounts have NEVER reported the exact casualties on the Chinese side. The Global Times CANNOT confirm the number at the moment.”