The river's length is about 80 kilometers, and it is fast-flowing. The river is named after Ghulam Rasool Galwan, a man from Leh. The upper reaches of the river and its valley are in the disputed Aksai Chin region claimed by India, but have been under Chinese control since at least 1959. The terrain in the valley is extremely difficult. In 1962 India set up a military post on the upper reaches of the Galwan but it was wiped out during the Sino-Indian War.