The violent face-off with Chinese soldiers at Galwan valley in Ladakh has prompted the Indian Army to rethink its rules of engagement along the sensitive Line of Actual Control (LAC), people with direct knowledge of the matter told NDTV.
Twenty soldiers laid down their lives for India in the clash with the Chinese army at the high-altitude area. The casualties in the Chinese side reached 45, according to sources.
For now, armed Indian soldiers have strict instructions not to open fire in the event of a physical scuffle with the Chinese.
But after the latest clash on Monday night – the deadliest along the LAC in decades – the Army is looking to revise its protocols in engaging Chinese forces, sources have said. The revised rules of engagement will focus on allowing Indian troops to effectively tackle Chinese forces. A decision on this is yet to be taken by the Army leadership, sources said.
In the violent clash at Galwan valley, both sides were armed with batons and sticks with nails. Reserves were called in by both sides on several occasions, say army sources. Several soldiers fell into the Galwan river during the fight. Extreme cold and hypothermia worsened the situation.
Since early May, hundreds of soldiers have been ranged against each other at three locations. The two sides had been discussing ways to de-escalate but Monday’s clashes erupted when Chinese troops turned on a group of Indian soldiers that included an officer.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said on Tuesday the clash arose from “an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo” on the border.
The United States, which has mounting frictions with China, but sees India as an emerging ally, said it was hoping for a “peaceful resolution”, and that it was monitoring the situation closely.