DHARAMSALA, 22 June: India has now changed its rules of engagement along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) with China after China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troop’s premeditated attack on Indian soldiers in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
The field commanders of Indian army can now sanction the use of firearms under ”extraordinary” circumstances using all resources at their disposal to handle situations at the tactical level as per the changes in the rules of engagement after the latest episode of Chinese aggression and incursion along the LAC on Monday last week that killed at least 20 Indian soldiers, including a commanding officer, media reports said.
It was reported that the Indian troops did, in fact, carry weapons when they were attacked by the PLA with iron rods, nail-studded clubs and rocks wrapped in barbed wire in the fight near Patrol Point 14 – a vantage point in Indian territory that overlooks Chinese positions on their side of the LAC but did not use them because of 1996 and 2005 agreements between India and China which do not permit the use of firearms during faceoffs.
Though the Chinese have kept num until now on the numbers of casualties the PLA suffered, the Indian Army has claimed that over 40 PLA soldiers may also have been killed or injured citing intercepted military communication and that the US Intelligence believes that 35 Chinese troops died, including one senior officer following the violent skirmish.
The incident marked the Indian Army’s heaviest casualties since the 1999 Kargil war, and the most intense fighting between the two parties since 1967, where 88 Indian soldiers and as many as 340 PLA troops were killed in the course of intense fights near the Nathu La and Cho La passes.
Meanwhile, the incident has aggravated anti-China sentiments in India, initially sparked by the Chinese originated COVID-19 Pandemic with widespread protests and calls to boycott Chinese products across the entire nation.
The former army chief of India, General VP Malik has called on New Delhi to change its China policy after the skirmish.
“What happened on 15 June is a turning point. India will now have to changes its China policy, not just on the military front but economic and political fronts too,” the Hindustan Times quoted General Malik as saying in its report.