China has for the first time acknowledged that four of its troops were killed during a mountain border clash with India last summer.
The death of the soldiers, the youngest of whom was 19, came as China and India fought in the Himalayan Galwan Valley in June in the deadliest confrontation between the two countries in almost 46 years.
China confirmed this for the first time in its official military newspaper, the People’s Liberation Army Daily (PLA Daily).
PLA Daily identified them as Chen Hongjun, Chen Xiangrong, Xiao Siyuan, and Wang Zhuoran and said the first three were killed in the fight while Wang died trying to cross a river to help his comrades.
Immediately after the clash, India said 20 of its soldiers had been killed. On the other hand, China simply said that there had been fatalities on both sides but refused to share the exact number of deaths among its troops despite various, unconfirmed reports estimating it to more than 40.
China and India share a 2,100 mile-long de facto border in the Himalayas called the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which was created in 1962 following a war between them for the stretch of land.
The border has been a source of tension ever since, with each side regularly stating that the other has overstepped the somewhat poorly defined boundary into their territory in the Pangong Tso area of Ladakh.
In early May, Chinese and Indian troops and tanks were in the middle of a stand-off in the Karakoram mountains and engaged in shouting matches, stone-throwing, and fistfights since a bilateral accord prevents the use of guns by either side, France 24 reported.
By the following month, things had escalated and eventually spread north into the Galwan Valley, where India has built an all-weather military road along the much-disputed border, Sky News added.
Although both countries agreed not to send more troops in September and began talks that temporarily resolved the issue, there was a “minor” incident last month. However, they have since agreed to “disengage” and are beginning to withdraw from the LAC.
This report was written by Naina Bhardwaj and originally published on Business Insider.