28th Chief of army general MM Naravane in his memoir ‘Fourt Stars of Destiny’, gives an exclusive perspective of the deadly cross border clashes between India and its Eastern neighbor China. Which took place on 16th of June 2020 in the Galwan Valley. These clashes claimed 20 Indian soldiers and a handsome number of Chinese causalities were also reported.
Recounting the Galwan event, the retired General says-
China followed "wolf-warrior diplomacy" and "salami-slicing" tactics with impunity browbeating smaller Neighbours like Nepal and Bhutan, while staking their ever-increasing claims in the South China Sea, without having to pay any costs, especially in terms of human lives.
"It took India and the Indian Army to show to the world that enough is enough and to challenge the neighborhood bully.
Naravane says, Chinese PLA pitched tents in several patrolling points such as patrolling point-15, patrolling point-17A and Patrolling point-14. However, the PLA retreated from PP17-A and PP-15 following the flag level meetings.
it was patrolling point 14 (PP-14) where Chinese soldiers pitched tents and refused to retreat. Indian Army realizing the situation pitched tents in the same general area, which led to an aggressive response from the Chinese side.
General Naravane Writes-
"At PP-14, however, whenever we asked the PLA to remove their tents, they kept changing their stance. From 'some more time was needed', to 'we will check with our superiors', to it 'being beyond the mandate of the talks'."
"From this stonewalling, it became evident that there had been no intention of removing those tents in the first place. To counter this, we also decided to pitch our own tents in the same general area”.
General Naravane explains the attempt of Col. Babu to diffuse the situation and the violent response of the adversary.
"Col Santosh Babu, Commanding Officer of 16 BIHAR, went forward with a small party of troops to attempt to defuse the situation but the PLA were in no mood to relent and attacked the CO's party too,"
Former army chief states that better road connectivity on the Chinese side made faster and heavier deployment possible for the enemy.
Naravane says he told then Northern Army Commander Lt Gen YK Joshi during a phone call at 1:30 am on June 16 that the Army must hit back and make the PLA pay the price for their misadventure.
"Five jawans had died of injuries in the melee. The next morning, as the head count was taken, we realized many were missing. As tense negotiations began, many of our boys, who had either got disoriented or had been briefly detained by the PLA without food or medical aid, returned to base," he says.
However, “15 of them succumbed to the combined effects of their injuries and hypothermia. It was one of the saddest days of my entire career”.
Naravane states “Our men who were in Chinese hands had been kept out in the open and they had seen several bodies being fished out of the river. Whenever that happened, they were subjected to a fresh round of beatings".
"The sheer savagery of their response was in itself indicative of the losses they had suffered. Initially, they did not admit to any casualties at all; then many months later, admitted to four or five killed, including the CO on their side”.
Naravane also cites the Australian Report which put the figure of causalities to at least 38.
Naravane says, now that the troop ratio has increased on the northern front, PLA will think twice before venturing on any misadventure.
16 June is Birthday of Chinese premier Xi. Naravane says Xi will never be able to forget it.
"June 16 is (Chinese President) Xi Jinping's birthday. This is not a day he will forget any time soon. For the first time in over two decades, the Chinese and the PLA had suffered fatal casualties," Naravane writes.