New Delhi: A memorial has been set up near the international border, remembering the 20 Indian soldiers who were killed in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh on June 15 during a clash with Chinese troops.
The memorial located at Post 120 on the strategic road connecting Durbuk, Shyok and Daulat Beg Oldi in Ladakh has been built at the unit level.
The memorial wall states: “On June 15, 2020 at Galwan Valley, Col B Santosh Babu Commanding Officer, 16 Bihar led the Quick Reaction Force of 16 Bihar and attached troops tasked to evict the PLA OP from Gen AY Nala and move further to Patrolling Point 14. The column successfully evicted the PLA OP from Y Nala and reached PP 14 where a fierce skirmish broke out between the IA and PLA troops.”
It also stated that Col Babu led from the front and his troops fought gallantly in hand to hand combat, causing heavy casualties among the PLA troops. “In the ensuing fight twenty ‘Gallants of Galwan’ achieved martyrdom,” the memorial wall says.
The list of 20 personnel is also inscribed on the wall.
The Indian Army is also in the process of inscribing the names of Colonel Babu and the other martyred soldiers at the National War Memorial in Delhi.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in Parliament on September 17 that Indian soldiers have chosen patience and courage over aggression. “Our soldiers are a living symbol of restraint, bravery and valour,” he said.
The minister briefed the House about the ongoing border tension and what led to the June 15 clash. Since April, India had noticed a build up of troops and armaments by the Chinese side in the border areas adjacent to Eastern Ladakh.
In early May, the Chinese side had taken action to hinder the normal, traditional patrolling pattern of Indian troops in the Galwan Valley area, which resulted in a face-off.
Even as this situation was being addressed by the Ground Commanders as per the provisions of the bilateral agreements and protocol, in mid-May the Chinese side made several attempts to transgress the LAC in other parts of the Western Sector.
This included Kongka La, Gogra and the North Bank of Pangong Lake. These attempts were detected early and consequently responded to appropriately by the Indian armed forces.
“We made it clear to the Chinese side both through diplomatic and military channels that China was, by such actions, attempting to unilaterally alter the status quo. It was categorically conveyed that this was unacceptable,” the minister said.
Given the growing friction along the LAC, the Senior Commanders of the two sides in a meeting on June 6, 2020 agreed on a process of disengagement that involved reciprocal actions. Both sides also agreed to respect the LAC and not undertake any activity to alter the status quo.
However, in violation of this, the Chinese side created a violent face-off on June 15 at Galwan in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. “Our brave soldiers laid down their lives and also inflicted costs including casualties on the Chinese side,” Singh had said.