Eight months after a fierce border clash at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, China has officially acknowledged casualties and named four officers and soldiers that it said were killed.
Five soldiers, including an officer who was injured, were honoured by the Chinese leadership, reported the PLA Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese military, on Friday.
Those killed included Qi Fabao, the regimental commander from the PLA Xinjiang Military Command.
India had confirmed the loss of 20 Indian soldiers shortly after the clashes on June 15 - soldiers who were honoured for their bravery with their names installed in memorials.
So far, Beijing had never acknowledged Chinese casualties. The admission from China comes days after India's Northern Army Commander referred to the figure of 45 Chinese casualties reported by Russian news agency TASS on February 10.
"The report has been revealed to give the truth to the public because the truth is long awaited and is necessary for the people to know the true story," Chinese foreing ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said when asked why Beijing chose to reveal the casualties after over eight months.
"We hope the border issue will be put in a proper place in our bilateral relations. We hope to work with the Indian side to properly resolve the issue and uphold the general picture and the interests of the bilateral ties", she said. "India is an important neighbour of China and restoring a healthy stable relationship is the aspiration and also in the interest of the two peoples. I hope the Indian side will work with us towards achieving this shared goal," the spokesperson added.
The clash between hundreds of soldiers of India and China took place in the Galwan Valley when Chinese soldiers prevented Indian soldiers from marching up to their traditional patrolling point in the area, which had also seen clashes in the 1962 Sino-Indian War.
The Chinese soldiers were armed with medieval-style weapons like spiked maces. The two sides did not fire upon each other.
Following the Galwan clash, several Indian soldiers were taken prisoner of war by the Chinese. These men were subsequently released.
Colonel Santosh Babu, the Commanding Officer of 16 Bihar, who was killed in action, was honoured with the Maha Vir Chakra, the second highest war time gallantry award.
India and China are presently in the midst of a military de-escalation on both banks of the Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh, which lies well south of Galwan where the clashes took place.
After the pitched hand-to-hand battles in Galwan, India and China agreed to the creation of a buffer zone in the area, where there is no man's land that neither side patrols.