Indian Soldiers Can Now Use Weapons During Border Confrontation With Chinese Troops

Following the India-China border clash that left 20 Indian soldiers dead, there has been a massive change in ‘Rules of Engagement’ with China. The new rules will allow the commanders “complete freedom of action” deployed along the contested border to “handle situations at the tactical level,” HindustanTimes reported.

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The Indian military commanders will no longer be restrained by limitations on the use of weapons and will have full authority to respond to “extraordinary situations” using all resources at their disposal, HT quoted a senior official.

Earlier, Indian PM Narendra Modi said the army had been given the freedom to take necessary steps along the border and India had conveyed its position (to China) through diplomatic means.

With the changes in engagement rules, there’s nothing that restricts the capacity of Indian commanders to take any action they consider essential on the LAC. The policy has been revised to address the evil strategies being used by Chinese troops,” an officer told HT.

Since soldiers are permitted to carry weapons while patrolling the LAC, it is essential that they can use the weapons in extreme conditions like the attack in Galwan Valley,” said former Northern Army commander Lieutenant General BS Jaswal (retd).

Border pacts between India and China ban the use of weapons during face-offs. Article 6 of the treaty on confidence-building measures in the military field along the LAC, signed by India and China in November 1996, states that both sides will not open fire or “conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two kilometres from the Line of Actual Control”.