(TibetanReview.net, Jun21’20) – Outraged by China’s use of lethal improvised weapons to launch a night attack in an overwhelming number on an Indian border patrol team in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on Jun 15, the Indian government has changed the Rules of Engagement (RoE) with China across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), reported india.com Jun 21.
The report said that under 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, it added.
Following opposition party criticisms, India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has 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, did not permit use of firearms during faceoffs.
A total of 20 Indian soldiers, including a Colonel, were martyred and 76 injured in the clash. China, on the other hand, never reports on casualties in conflicts. Indian and US intelligence estimates were previously reported as saying the injured and dead on the Chinese side numbered 35 to 45.
The report noted that the Galwan Valley incident was the deadliest border skirmish between India and China since 1967 and the first time since 1975 that fatalities had taken place in a faceoff between the two sides.