New Delhi: In the wake of Monday night’s barbaric attack by China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops on their Indian counterparts in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, the Centre has now changed the Rules of Engagement (RoE) with China across the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Also Read - Indian Army Planning to Change Rules Of Engagement With China After Ladakh Standoff: Report
As per the new RoE, the Indian Army can use firearms and have full authority to respond to ‘extraordinary’ situations using all resources at their disposal. The commanders at LAC can now give their troops ‘complete freedom of action’ to handle situations at the tactical level.
The change in RoE, notably, comes in the wake of allegations by the opposition parties, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, that Indian soldiers were sent ‘unarmed’ to meet their Chinese counterparts. Responding to the former Congress president, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar clarified that while the Indian soldiers did, in fact, carry weapons, they didn’t use them because of 1996 and 2005 agreements between India and China which, he said, do not permit use of firearms during faceoffs.
Notably, in the wake of the incident, there were reports as well that the Army was planning to change RoE with China.
A total of 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel, were martyred and 76 injured in the clash. China, on the other hand, is yet to make its casualty figures public.
The Galwan Valley incident is the deadliest border skirmish between India and China since 1967 and the first time since 1975 that fatalities have taken place in a faceoff between the two sides. The two countries also fought a war in 1962 which was won decisively by China.