Galwan River

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Galwan River
Galwan River is located in Ladakh
Galwan River
Mouth of the Galwan River in Ladakh to the west of the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control
Galwan River is located in India
Galwan River
Galwan River (India)
CountriesChina and India
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationAksai Chin
 ⁃ coordinates34°43′05″N 78°38′59″E / 34.718129°N 78.649718°E / 34.718129; 78.649718
 ⁃ location
Shyok River
 ⁃ coordinates
34°45′33″N 78°10′13″E / 34.75917°N 78.17028°E / 34.75917; 78.17028Coordinates: 34°45′33″N 78°10′13″E / 34.75917°N 78.17028°E / 34.75917; 78.17028
Basin features
River systemIndus River
Galwan River
Traditional Chinese加勒萬河
Simplified Chinese加勒万河

The Galwan River flows from the disputed Aksai Chin region in southern Xinjiang of China to Ladakh of India. It originates in the area of Samzungling on the eastern side of the Karakoram range and flows west to join the Shyok River at 34°45′33″N 78°10′13″E / 34.75917°N 78.17028°E / 34.75917; 78.17028. It is one of the upstream tributaries of the Indus River.


The river's length is about 80 kilometers, and it is fast-flowing. The river is named after Ghulam Rasool Galwan, a Ladakhi explorer from Leh, who first discovered the river.[1][2]

Sino-Indian border dispute[edit]

Galwan River

The Galwan river is to the west of China's 1956 claim line in Aksai Chin. However, in 1960 China advanced its claim line to the west of the river along the mountain ridge adjoining the Shyok river valley.[3] Meanwhile, India continued to claim the entire Aksai Chin plateau.

These claims and counterclaims led to a military standoff in the Galwan River valley in 1962. On 4 July, a platoon of Indian Gorkha troops set up a post in the upper reaches of the valley. The post ended up cutting the lines of communication to a Chinese post at Samzungling. The Chinese interpreted it as a premeditated attack on their post, and surrounded the Indian post, coming within 100 yards of the post. The Indian government warned China of "grave consequences" and informed them that India was determined to hold the post at all costs. The post remained surrounded for four months and was supplied by helicopters. According to scholar Taylor Fravel, the standoff marked the "apogee of tension" for China's leaders.[4][5][6]

By the time the Sino-Indian War started on the 20 October 1962, the Indian post had been reinforced by a company of troops. The Chinese PLA bombarded it with heavy shelling and employed a battalion to attack the post. The Indians suffered 33 killed and several wounded, and the company commander and several others were taken prisoner.[4][5] By the end of the war, China reached its 1960 claim line.[3]


  1. ^ Kapadia, Harish (2005), Into the Untravelled Himalaya: Travels, Treks, and Climbs, Indus Publishing, pp. 215–219, ISBN 978-81-7387-181-8
  2. ^ Kapadia, Harish (1992), "Lots in a Name", The Himalayan Journal, 48
  3. ^ a b Hoffmann, Steven A. (1990), India and the China Crisis, University of California Press, pp. 76, &nbsp, 93, ISBN 978-0-520-06537-6
  4. ^ a b Raghavan, Srinath (2010), War and Peace in Modern India, Palgrave Macmillan, p. 287, ISBN 978-1-137-00737-7
  5. ^ a b Cheema, Brig Amar (2015), The Crimson Chinar: The Kashmir Conflict: A Politico Military Perspective, Lancer Publishers, p. 186, ISBN 978-81-7062-301-4
  6. ^ Fravel, M. Taylor (2008), Strong Borders, Secure Nation: Cooperation and Conflict in China's Territorial Disputes, Princeton University Press, p. 186, ISBN 1-4008-2887-2

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]