China laid claim to Ladakh’s Galwan Valley once again on January 1 by unfurling its national flag. A slew of Chinese government-led media houses have shared videos of the event, led by PLA soldiers who raised slogans of ‘Never yield an inch of land’.
The Opposition in India slammed the BJP-led central government in the wake of the incident, with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “break the silence” over the Chinese “incursions” in Galwan. “Our tricolour looks good in Galwan. There should be a response to China. Modiji, break the silence”, Gandhi tweeted on January 2.
The provocation at the border came days after China “renamed” 15 places in Arunachal Pradesh. The government had then put out a sharp reaction, reiterating that the state of Arunachal Pradesh is an integral part of India.
In a statement issued on December 30, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi stated that this was not a first, and that China had also sought to assign such names in April 2017. “Arunachal Pradesh has always been, and will always be an integral part of India. Assigning invented names to places in Arunachal Pradesh does not alter this fact,” Bagchi had said.
Meanwhile, hitting out at the Modi administration, Gandhi tweeted on “remembering India’s glorious victory in 1971” and came down heavily on the Central government, stating “Hollow words do not win”.
On June 15, 2020, Galwan Valley witnessed one of the worst clashes in 45 years between Indian and Chinese armies, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed. This led to a military standoff with China with a number of rounds of military talks about the disengagement process.
In February 2021, China officially announced that five Chinese military officers and soldiers were also killed in the Galwan clash.