Ever since the Indian Defence Minister announced that the December 9 attempt by the PLA to “transgress the LAC in Yangtse area of Tawang Sector and unilaterally change the status quo”, several social media users have been pouring in praises for the Indian army, and celebrating their “valour” and “courage.” Many users also shared images claiming to show Indian soldiers “captured” by the Chinese troops in Tawang.
Several social media users shared an image claiming to show Chinese officers overseeing Indian soldiers, who are holding their ears and on their knees. Another image showed what appears to be a pursuit of Indian soldiers near a heavy flowing river, by a group of men in uniform, allegedly belonging to the Chinese Army.
Another image showed a group of men in bandages, allegedly lined up in front of Chinese soldiers who are seen in full gear and face masks.
The caption of the image reads, “25-30 Indian soldiers beaten up and captured at the mercy of Chinese soldiers.”
We began our investigation by ascertaining whether any casualties were reported in the Indo-China clash in Tawang on December 9.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had informed the Parliament that both the sides suffered ‘minor injuries’ in the clashes that happened on December 9. Corroborating with Singh’s statement, the Army also said that the face-off led to minor injuries to few personnel from both sides.” Reportedly, six Indian soldiers were injured in the face-off. They were airlifted to the 151 base hospital in Guwahati’s Basistha for treatment. The information provided by relevant authorities do not mention any causality in the standoff.
We continued our investigation in an attempt to determine the authenticity of the photographs.
Image 1 & 2
A Google reverse image search on the photograph allegedly showing Indian troops on their knees led us to a tweet by @louischeung_hk, dated November 7, 2021. The Twitter user had shared a set of four photographs, claiming to show “Newly released Images of Indian and Chinese troops face off in the #GalwanValley on the disputed border between #China and #India last year. This is not a #Bollywood movie. It’s clear who wins. #IndianArmy (sic)”
The post included the same images that were seen in the Twitter posts that claim to be recent.
Newschecker was not independently able to verify the veracity of these images. However, they are unrelated to the Tawang clash.
We then conducted a Google reverse image search on the viral photograph seen in the second post which yielded several reports -mostly from Pakistan-based news outlets- October 2021, carrying the same image.
One such report by Radio Pakistan, dated October 10, 2021, alleged, “Indians are furious over the release of images of captured and badly bruised Indian army officers and men during the China-India clashes in Galwan valley in the Himalayan border area in 2020.”
Furthermore, the search also led us to a tweet by Shen Shiwei, dated October 9, 2021, carrying the viral photograph.
Newschecker could not independently verify the authenticity of the pictures shared by the Chinese state media alleging to show visuals from the June 2020 Galwan clash. However, the viral image predates the December 9 Tawang clash, and hence unrelated.
Viral images claiming to show Indian troops “captured” by the Chinese soldiers after the recent Tawang clash are false. The images predate the December 9 incident.