The Army has changed rules of engagement along the LAC (Line of Actual Control) with China, empowering field commanders to sanction use of firearms under ”extraordinary” circumstances. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier also said the Army has been given full freedom to deal with the on-ground situation.
Under previous rules of engagement – agreements signed in 1996 and 2005 – neither side opens fire on the other. The two countries had also agreed not to use blasting explosives or firearms within two kilometres of either side of the LAC.
Changes to the decades-old rules come less than a week after a violent face-off in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley, in which 20 Indian soldiers were killed.
A further 76 Indian troops were injured army officials told NDTV. None of them suffered critical injuries and are expected back on duty in a week, officials added.
Indian troops were attacked 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, the de-facto border between the two countries.
Neither the army nor the government have commented on how many Chinese soldiers were hurt or killed but sources have told NDTV the number stands at 45. This information is based on intercepts as well as Chinese choppers seen in the area.