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Indian troops allowed to use firearms in border standoff with China: Reports

On June 21st, Indian media reported that the Indian troops alongside the border with China had been given the order to use firearms in “extraordinary situations.”

Chinese state-media Global Times editor Hu Xijin said that if the new ‘rules of engagement’ are true, it’s a serious violation of prior treaties implemented for deescalation.

The Hindustan summarized the change, which is a result of the clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers, in which at least 20 Indian troops died, and an undisclosed number of Chinese soldiers also perished.

“A significant change in Rules of Engagement (ROE) by the Indian Army following the Galwan Valley skirmish that left 20 Indian soldiers dead gives “complete freedom of action” to commanders deployed along the contested Line of Actual Control (LAC) to “handle situations at the tactical level,” two senior officers said on Saturday on condition of anonymity.

The commanders will no longer be bound by restrictions on the use of firearms and will have full authority to respond to “extraordinary situations” using all resources at their disposal, said one of the officers cited above.”

The commanders can now use firearms and have full authority to respond to extraordinary situations using all resources at their disposal.

Earlier, these were not part of the Rules of Engagements across the LAC.

In a statement issued during an all-party meet on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that India would respond firmly to any attempt to transgress the LAC.

“In fact, he specifically emphasised that in contrast to the past neglect of such challenges, Indian forces now decisively counter any violation of LAC (‘unhe rokte hain, unhe tokte hain’),” a statement issued by the PMO stated.

The words of Prime Minister — “those who tried to transgress our land were taught a befitting lesson by our brave sons of soil” — succinctly summed up the ethos and the values of the armed forces.

Modi further emphasised, “I want to assure you that our armed forces will leave no stone unturned to protect our borders.”

Many people questioned why soldiers did not use firearms or why they went unarmed. To this, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said that Indian Army troops, who were attacked and suffered fatal casualties on Monday night, were carrying weapons, however, they did not fire.

He said, “All troops on border duty always carry arms, especially when leaving the post.

Those in Galwan on June 15 did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 and 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs.”

Sources said Indian Army troopers were outnumbered by 1:5 ratio when they came under attack from the PLA soldiers at patrolling point 14 in along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.

PLA troopers “savagely attacked” Indian Army personnel, according to sources in the government with knowledge of the details of the June 15 clash.

“The numbers were stacked up against the Indian Army troopers. Yet, the Indian side decided to fight the PLA troopers. The Indian soldiers were outnumbered 1:5 by the Chinese troopers,” the sources said.

China is also said to have used thermal imaging drones to trace the Indian Army soldiers scattered on the treacherous terrain before brutally attacking them.

“It was the deadliest attack carried on Indian Army personnel by the Chinese military personnel in our memory,” the government sources said.

“We were outnumbered,” admitted an Indian Army officer, talking about the clash that reportedly went on for six to seven hours.

On June 22nd, the Corps Commanders of the Indian and Chinese armies are holding another round of talks at the Chushul-Moldo border personnel meeting point in eastern Ladakh to de-escalate the ongoing tension between the two countries.

It is unclear how the issue originated, since both sides blame the other.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said he was unaware of the specifics but that the Indian army had crossed into Chinese territory in several places in recent days – violating the agreement reached on June 6 – and that they should withdraw.

Calling it a “deliberate provocation” on New Delhi’s part, Zhao said: “The rights and wrongs… are very clear and the responsibility rests entirely with the Indian side.”

In response, India’s foreign ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava cautioned China against making “exaggerated and untenable claims” on the sovereignty of the Galwan Valley area.

India says China occupies 38,000 sq km of its territory in the Aksai Chin Plateau in the Himalayas, with 12,000 Chinese soldiers reportedly pushing across the border.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi categorically refuted claims of China’s takeover of any Indian territory – his statement contrasting with the government’s earlier claims.