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Chinese army attacks Philippine navy boats in South China Sea, repeating Galwan-like clash
Photo courtesy: Video grab

Chinese army attacks Philippine navy boats in South China Sea, repeating Galwan-like clash

| @indiablooms | 20 Jun 2024, 08:49 pm

Chinese military personnel attacked two Philippine navy boats in the South China Sea, and boarded them with axes, spears, machetes, and hammers to inflict damage, media reported.

This aggressive stance in a contested area of the South China Sea echoed China's 2020 Galwan Valley assault, evoking comparisons by Indians who referred to it as "Galwan 2.0 in the South China Sea".

As Chinese soldiers took to primitive means to attack Filipino ships, sirens blared, alerting them about the attack. The bloody brawl escalated and heated exchanges between the troops unfolded, with multiple Filipino soldiers sustaining injuries, including one who lost his right thumb during the altercation.

In the skirmish, the Chinese not only damaged the boats but also seized eight M4 rifles, packed navigation equipment, and other provisions, as reported by The Associated Press on Tuesday.

This incident drew unsettling parallels to the 2020 Galwan Valley clash involving the People's Republic of China and the Indian Army, eliciting question from Vice Admiral Girish Luthra whether these were "China's Galwan-type tactics at sea".

"The Philippines military says Chinese coastguard boarding parties used swords, knives, spears etc, and injured Philippine personnel in the fight, in the incident off Second Thomas/Ayungin Shoal. China's Galwan-type tactics at sea," Girish Luthra, the former chief of the Indian Navy's Western and Southern Naval Command wrote on X.

Galwan Clash

The Galwan skirmish erupted from a dispute over a temporary bridge built by the Chinese in the Galwan River valley in Ladakh.

On June 15, Indian and Chinese troops engaged in a six-hour clash in the rugged terrain of Ladakh, engaging in hand-to-hand combat with makeshift weapons such as stones, batons, and iron rods.

The face-off occurred in near-complete darkness and freezing temperatures, leading to fatalities as soldiers fell or were pushed from ridges.

Twenty Indian soldiers were martyred in the clash, while China officially acknowledged four casualties, although reports indicate higher Chinese losses, as soldiers drowned in the choppy waters of the Galwan River.

Among the Indians, Colonel B Santosh Babu, the Commanding Officer of the 16th Bihar Regiment, was martyred during the unprovoked aggression by PLA troops.

The Galwan clashes highlighted China's aggressive stance towards its neighbouring countries.

Many observers on social media noted similarities between the Chinese attack on Philippine navy ships and the 2020 Galwan Valley clash.

South China dispute

The South China Sea has been a longstanding source of territorial disputes involving China and neighbouring countries the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan.

China's assertive claims over nearly all of the South China Sea have escalated tensions in the region.

Recent acts of Chinese aggression have heightened concerns about the potential for military conflicts.

In order back its persistent aggression in the South China Sea, China enacted a law in 2021.

This law grants the Chinese coast guard authority to seize foreign vessels that allegedly trespass into China's territorial waters and detain their crews for up to 60 days.

The implementation of this law faced opposition from several littoral states' governments, including those of the Philippines, Vietnam, and Taiwan. It has contributed further to the strained relations and heightened maritime tensions in the South China Sea region.

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