JIN DING/CHINA DAILY
On Feb 19, China disclosed the details of the Sino-Indian border clash in Galwan Valley in June 2020, honoring the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for the country along with those who were wounded on that fateful day. The official announcement shows the Chinese government holds in high esteem the heroes who defend the country.
In the tense border confrontation, India suffered heavy losses, as at least 20 Indian army officers and soldiers died and an unknown number were injured. India, which stirred up the border tensions, should reflect on its actions and meet China halfway to restore peace along the Line of Actual Control and settle the border disputes through talks.
As video footages from the disputed border show, the Indian troops have violated many agreements reached between the two sides to maintain peace, by building roads, bridges and fortifications close to the LAC and even crossing the LAC on many occasions.
In June, for example, the Indian army crossed the LAC and set up tents on Chinese territory. Although they faced just a handful of Chinese soldiers who wanted to sincerely negotiate peace, the Indian troops, many times the number of their Chinese counterparts, launched surprise attacks with steel pipes, clubs and stones.
Qi Fabao, Chinese regimental commander, became the target of the Indian attack and received serious wounds in the head in the brawl. Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong and Xiao Siyuan fought to their last breath to defend the nation's territory, with Wang Zhuoran sacrificing his life in a bid to rescue his comrades.
India stirred up trouble in an attempt to change the status quo along the border. Yet China, as a responsible power, has exercised exemplary restraint to prevent any further confrontations.
Neither can these facts be changed nor can the heroes who sacrificed their lives in the service of the Chinese nation be forgotten. The reporting of heroic deeds by the Chinese media could further help set the record straight for the international community.
In contrast to China's restraint, India has repeatedly hyped up its casualties in the clash, insulted Chinese border guards and distorted the facts in an attempt to mislead the international community. India has also tried to escalate the border conflict, even instructed its forces to fire at Chinese soldiers along the border without considering the consequences.
As recently as Feb 7, an Indian minister said: "Let me assure you, if China has transgressed 10 times, we must have done it at least 50 times." Such arrogance is not conducive to maintaining peace along the border and has hurt Chinese people's sentiments. Also, the Indian minister's statement has revealed the Indian government's designs to usurp Chinese territory by triggering border clashes. As such, the responsibility for the deaths and injuries on both sides lies squarely with India.
Some Indian politicians don't seem to have learned any lesson from the bloody border conflict in June; instead, they are obsessed with comparing the numbers of casualties on the two sides. Some Indian media outlets have even exaggerated the number of deaths on the Chinese side, in order to save the Indian government's face as India suffered heavier losses in the clash triggered by the Indian army.
The lives of the soldiers who died in the clash are not just numbers. To defend the sovereignty of China and maintain peace along the border, four young Chinese soldiers lost their lives. Yet the video footages show that, despite the Indian army's infringement of the LAC and reckless provocation, the Chinese troops exercised utmost restraint before striking back.
In spite of being at a disadvantage, the Chinese soldiers pushed back the intruders and valiantly guarded China's territory. The official announcement of the deaths of the four soldiers has been met with grief mixed with anger across the country. But the loss has made China more determined than ever to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and maintain peace along the LAC.
China will stick to dialogue to resolve the Sino-Indian border disputes. For instance, at the 10th round of China-India corps commander-level meeting on Feb 20, the Chinese side exchanged views with its Indian counterpart and agreed to work together to maintain a peaceful and stable border before working out a mutually satisfactory solution to the border problem. India should follow China's example of exercising restraint and depend on talks to settle the disputes.
The author is deputy director of the Department for Asia-Pacific Studies at the China Institute of International Studies.
The views don't necessarily represent those of China Daily.