New Delhi: India on Monday disparaged the “baseless” report of a leading Pakistani news channel that 158 Indian soldiers had been killed in a military clash with China in Sikkim, stating that no ‘responsible media’ should take any cognisance of it.
Dunya News, a popular Urdu news channel in Pakistan, broadcast a report Monday evening at around 5.30 p.m. that clashes had broken out in Sikkim between Chinese and Indian soldiers.
The short clip, which was also tweeted by Dunya News, claims to show still images of a burning post and ‘soldiers’ carrying ‘injured’ colleagues. However, there was no reference to the source of the photographs or information of when they were taken. With the Dunya News logo watermarked on the three still photos, it was difficult to even make out whether the photographs were taken in India.
The voice-over of the anchor in the clip claimed that China had fired rockets to the Indian side and started the skirmish. The anchor repeated several times that the casualty was 158 Indian soldiers, which was also repeated by their correspondent on the phone. The correspondent, Mohammad Imran, claimed that the figure of 158 Indian soldiers was “based on reports that were coming in”. From where or whom was not said.
— Dunya News (@DunyaNews) July 17, 2017
After about four hours, The spokesperson of India’s ministry of external affairs issued a statement that dismissed the reports as “utterly baseless, malicious and mischievous”.
“Referring to “reports emanating from a neighbouring country about casualties of Indian soldiers in the Indian state of Sikkim due to military action with another country,” he said “no cognisance should be taken of them by responsible media.”
On Tuesday, some mainstream Chinese media denounced the “groundless” report. While the Chinese authorities have not yet responded, a report by the People’s Daily said that the Chinese embassy in India noticed and denounced the report.
Indian and Chinese troops have entered the fourth week of a stand-off at Bhutan’s Doklam region, but according to official reports in both China and India, while they are at close proximity, the situation remains calm at the location.
An article on The Dunya News‘ website seems, however, to have been updated later in the night. The online report seems a bit confusing – as while the lead paragraph says that 158 Indian soldiers were killed, the information is not mentioned anywhere else in the body.
It then claims that China’s state television carried video footage of Chinese army holding a live ammunition drill along the India-Chinese border.