Galwan Valley Clash: India Changes Weapon Rules Along LAC
India changes rules of engagement along LAC, allows use of firearms in ‘extraordinary’ circumstances.
The Indian Army has changed the rules of engagement with Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Field commanders have now been allowed to sanction use of firearms under ''extraordinary'' circumstances. As per the previous agreements on rules of engagement signed in 1996 and 2005, troops from neither side could open fire on the other.
The two countries are also not to use blasting explosives or firearms within two kilometres of either side of LAC as per the earlier agreement.
This comes in the midst of the violent standoff between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Galwan valley of Ladakh that led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers. The Chinese troops had reportedly attacked Indian soldiers on 15 June with iron rods, batons wrapped in barbed wire and clubs embedded with nails. This resulted in a hand-to-hand combat between the two sides.
Despite carrying firearms, Indian soldiers did not use their weapons due to the bilateral agreements. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on 18 June tweeted, “Let us get the facts straight. All troops on border duty always carry arms, especially when leaving post. Those at Galwan on 15 June did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 & 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs.”
Article 1 of the 2005 Indo-China agreement says that the differences on the boundary question should not be allowed to affect the overall development of bilateral relations. "Neither side shall use or threaten to use force against the other by any means," says Article 1 of the agreement, reported IANS.
The army is also likely to include staggered movement of patrols in key areas of the LAC besides holding some high position or feature for a strategic advantage, reported News18.
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