According to the Indian government, India did not suffer any fatalities. No official source has so far confirmed any deaths on either side.
Soon after reports began to emerge in Indian media that Indian and Chinese forces had clashed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh's Tawang region on December 9, social media started to flood with false and misleading claims about the face-off. On December 12, Twitter user "Dan_T129" wrote, "China kills over 300 Indian troops #Tawang." The user also attached two images of some men in uniform being attacked and held captive on the banks of a stream flowing in some rocky terrain. The tweet is one of several posts making unsubstantiated claims about the number of alleged fatalities suffered by the Indian side in the aftermath of the clash.
On December 13, 2022, India's minister of defense Rajnath Singh, informed the lower house of the Parliament (Lok Sabha) that China’s People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers engaged in an incursion attempt on December 9. This attempt, first reported by the press, was carried out across the LAC in the Yangtse area of the Tawang sector in Arunachal Pradesh and "unilaterally attempted to change the status quo," read the official translation of Singh's statement made in the Parliament. Singh told the Lok Sabha: "The scuffle led to injuries to a few personnel on both sides. I wish to share with this House that there are no fatalities or serious casualties on our side."
Since the 2020 Galwan Valley skirmish, the clash is the closest encounter between the two sides, The Indian Express reported. Logically has previously debunked misinformation related to the Galwan attacks in 2020.
On December 13, news agency Reuters reported that an Indian defense source told the outlet that "patrolling teams from both sides came face-to-face at one of the peaks there and that in an ensuing hand-to-hand fight, some soldiers fell on the rocky surface and injured themselves." The report also quoted a spokesperson from the Western Theatre Command of China's PLA, according to whom the clash occurred when Indian troops “illegally crossed the border” to block a routine patrol.
While Chinese officials have given statements to news agencies regarding what led to the skirmish, there are yet no official comments from China on any fatalities. There are also no reports or comments from any credible sources in China, India, or elsewhere that refute the statement made by the Indian defense minister.
The credibility of claims made in social media posts regarding numerous fatalities on the Indian side is further weakened by their usage of images that have nothing to do with the latest India-China clashes. On conducting a reverse image search of the photos used in the tweet, Logically found that the photos had been released in November 2021 by the PLA. The photos were shared by Chinese state-affiliated media figures, who claimed the pictures showed what happened to Indian soldiers during the 2020 Galwan clash.
Hamsini Hariharan, an analyst with Logically's investigation division who focuses on China, said, "On closely observing the terrain in the photos shared on Twitter, you can make out that it is not part of the eastern sector of the LAC, but the western sector in Ladakh. It is important to remember that, except for government official's statements, there is no credible audio-visual footage from the Tawang clashes." The LAC is the 3,440 km-long border shared between India and China, and is divided into three sectors: western, middle, and eastern. On the Indian side, Ladakh lies in the western sector, Uttarakhand in the middle, and Arunachal Pradesh in the east.
As of December 13, there were no official comments or reports from any credible news agency regarding any fatalities suffered by either side in the December 9 clash between Indian and Chinese forces. The Indian defense minister stated that some soldiers on both sides sustained injuries, while China has yet to comment on the incident. There are no credible reports confirming that China killed as many as 300 Indian personnel in Tawang. Therefore, we mark this claim false.