Did the PLA force Galwan captives to make “confessions”? Images emerge in video war between India and China

New Delhi: The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has forced a wounded Indian army officer who was taken captive during the Galwan River clashes to make a staged confession, video obtained by ThePrint appears to show.

The video, which circulated on PLA-linked social media groups on Thursday, came hours after 20 Indian Army soldiers were killed and 10 captured after a scuffle along the Line of Actual Control in 2020.

The PLA propaganda video was released just hours after social media in India posted video of a 2021 clash in Yangtze, Arunachal Pradesh, showing a small Sikh Light Infantry unit defending its position against a number much larger number of PLA troops.

In the PLA video, a high-ranking official is seen saying that he was ordered to cross the Line of Actual Control and remove the tents set up by the Chinese inside his own territory.

When contacted by ThePrint, Indian Army sources said they had yet to determine the veracity of the video.

The video appears to have been made in violation of the Geneva Conventions that govern the rights of captured combatants, which establishes that “no moral or physical coercion may be exerted on a prisoner of war to induce him to admit guilt of the act of which he is accused.” Protections apply to all fighters at the service of nation-states, regardless of whether there is a declared state of war.

After a brief debriefing, in which he appears to be recording a statement on paper, Major DS Chauhan of the 3rd Punjab Regiment is seen in front of a Chinese cameraman, to make a brief statement thanking the PLA for their treatment. to his men. The officer is believed to be one of 10 Indian soldiers, including four officers, taken captive by China after the Galwan clash. The captives were released three days after the June 15, 2020 clash.

China claims that the entire Galwan Valley lies within its territory, despite the fact that the latitude and longitude coordinates of the locations that the country provided during official discussions show that LAC spans 4.7 kilometers. to the east of the estuary. The Galwan sector was also not included by China among the 12 disputed LAC sectors during official negotiations in 1995.

Also read: How Arunachal is front and center in the Modi government’s massive border infrastructure push to counter China

A sensitive international issue

The use of coercion to force captured military and diplomatic personnel to make confessions accusing their countries of origin has been a sensitive international issue.

The late John McCain, who later became a US Senator and presidential candidate, was one of the various airmen tortured and forced to make confessions accusing their nation of the North Vietnamese regime. After extreme physical and mental pressure, McCain said, he finally admitted to being a “black criminal” and an “air pirate.” CIA pilot Gary Powers, shot down over the Soviet Union on a reconnaissance flight in 1960, was also the subject of a public trial-show.

Former Indian Foreign Secretary K. Raghunath along with fellow diplomat P. Vijai were arrested and placed in custody. trial-show in Beijing in 1967, violating his diplomatic immunity.

Although nation-states have become reluctant to directly link themselves to violations of the Geneva Conventions, the publication of propaganda videos has become a common feature of the digital age. The questioning of Indian Air Force officer Abhinandan Varthman after his fighter jet was shot down over Pakistan in 2019 leaked online, in an apparent effort to show that he had been treated well in custody.

Also read: ‘Modus vivendi’ between India and China after 2020 is not an easy task, but essential, says Jaishankar

Tension across LAC

The PLA’s release of Galwan’s video comes amid rising tensions in LAC, following a crash near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh on December 9. Troops stationed at an Indian outpost, codenamed Yanki, near the famous Chumi Gyantse shrine, repelled several hundred PLA members who tried to dislodge them using clubs and slingshots. This marked the most serious engagement of the troops since the Galwan engagement.

Elsewhere in LAC, the PLA has continued to build infrastructure, notably building a bridge across Torsa nullah and improving roads leading to the Jampheri ridge, at the crossroads of Bhutan, China and India. Efforts to build a similar road, through the Doka-La pass, triggered the Doklam crisis in 2017.

Although China and India have made efforts to withdraw troops since the Galwan clash, the PLA has tried to assert its territorial claims by force in several areas. In 2021, PLA efforts led to similar clashes near Tawang and near the Naku-La Pass.

Protocols observed by both armies prohibit the use of firearms throughout the LAC, but the PLA has used hand weapons such as nail-embedded clubs, as well as so-called “monkey claw” slingshots. After the 2020 clashes, the Indian Army also started equipping its personnel with similarly effective equipment.

(Edited by Anumeha Saxena)

Also read: Modi govt moving forward with Arunachal Frontier Highway, one of India’s ‘toughest’ projects so far, China in mind

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