New Delhi, June 17 (IANS) Around 120 Indian soldiers, almost an entire company, was trapped and encircled by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and followed by savage and deceptive attacks, many to a point of mutilation, on Monday night, sources said.
Pointing firearms on their faces, the Chinese PLA brutally tortured some Indian soldiers to death, sources further revealed, adding that the Indian soldiers were helpless with the government directions of not to use firearms. It was not a hand-to-hand fight between the forces, as IANS has learnt and the PLA troopers used all kinds of weapons against the Indian soldiers, who bravely fought and tried to control the situation.
Sources said the Indian Army troopers were outnumbered by 1:5 ratio when they came under attack from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army soldiers at the patrolling point number 14 in Ladakh on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh.
China’s PLA troopers “savagely attacked” Indian Army personnel, according to sources in the government with knowledge of the details of the Monday night clashes between the two army soldiers.
“The numbers were stacked up against the Indian Army troopers. Yet, the Indian side decided to fight the PLA troopers. The Indian soldiers were outnumbered 1:5 by the Chinese troopers,” the sources said on Wednesday.
China is also said to have used thermal imaging drones to trace the Indian Army soldiers scattered on the treacherous terrain before brutally attacking them.
“It was the deadliest attack carried on the Indian Army personnel by the Chinese military personnel to our memory,” the government sources said.
“We were outnumbered,” admitted an Indian Army officer, talking about the clash that went on for six to seven hours.
Sources stated the dead Colonel Santosh Babu went to see whether the Chinese troops had withdrawn from the standoff position, as promised by them. The Chinese trapped the Indian soldiers and brutally attacked them to the “point of mutilation”.
Indian Army said the Indian Army soldiers went to the spot where the clashes happened without any animosity and were displaying friendly gestures to the Chinese side that they were there to check if the de-escalation agreement was being followed as promised.
“But they trapped and carried out the attacks, a purely savage act,” the Indian Army official told IANS.
Several Indian Army soldiers are currently “critically injured” and are undergoing treatment.
The “causality numbers could increase” as the current critically injured personnel numbers are more than 10, the sources said.
The Indian Army official, however, refused to comment on the numbers, but just said “several are injured”.
On Tuesday, Indian helicopters flew around 16 times to bring bodies and injured Indian Army personnel from the site of the attack in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh region, government sources said. Four bodies of the Indian Army personnel were flown to Leh from Galwan Valley on Wednesday morning.
The Indian Army on Tuesday said 20 of its men, including officers, were killed in an unprecedented violent clash with PLA troopers in the Galwan Valley on Monday night. The force also said the death toll would increase, as many soldiers were grievously injured.
In a statement on Tuesday night, the Indian Army stated, “17 Indian troops who were critically injured in the line of duty at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries, taking the total that were killed in action to 20.”
The force further said the Indian and the Chinese troops have disengaged in the Galwan area where they had earlier clashed on the intervening night of June 15/16.
It said the Indian Army is firmly committed to protect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
These are the first casualties suffered by either army since 1975 when an Indian patrol was ambushed by the Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh.
The latest attack took place after the Brigade and Company commander-level talks happened in eastern Ladakh between the two militaries. Security establishment officials have maintained that the Chinese PLA provoked the skirmishes by establishing posts in the Indian territory.
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at [email protected])