What Happened in 1975? The Last Skirmish at India-China Border

Galwan face-off is the first incident of violence leading to fatalities between India and China in over 45 years.

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Image used for representational purposes.

Two soldiers and an officer of the Indian Army were killed in a “violent face-off” in Galwan Valley on Tuesday, 16 June. Casualties have been reported on the Chinese side as well.

The encounter happened along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh where rival soldiers were caught in a standoff that began with a confrontation between rival patrols near Pangong Tso on the night of 5-6 May.

The Galwan face-off is the first incident of violence leading to fatalities between India and China in over four decades.

The sudden escalation of tension serves as an eerie reminder of a skirmish of this scale that took place at the LAC in 1975.

Firing at the Border in 1975

In 1975, four soldiers were killed when a patrol of Assam Rifles jawans was ambushed by the Chinese at Tulung La in Arunachal Pradesh.

However, according to popular perception, the 1967 clash between India and China is often remembered as the last shot fired on the India-China border.

In that war, over 800 Indian soldiers were killed while around 400 Chinese soldiers were estimated to have been killed.

Hence, it is seen as the last major war between the two countries but it is not the last incident of shots being fired on the contested boundary.

Talking about the 1975 war, Nirupama Rao, a former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador to China said, “We often remember 1967, but to say that was the last firing, and that what happened eight years later was some sort of accident does not square with the facts,” according to The Hindu.

“It was an ambush, plain and simple, and four of ours lost their lives,” he added.

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On 13 June, Army Chief General MM Naravane had said everything was under control with respect to the country's border with China.

After the meeting of military commanders of the two sides, on 6 June, both countries had also started to disengage troops in a few areas in eastern Ladakh, reports had said.

The Indian Army is expected to give more details on the incident in Galwan Valley later in the day.

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