After the brutal Galwan valley clash in June, the Indian Army decided to change its ‘rules of engagement’ to deal with the Chinese aggression on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
These rules helped prevent tensions from spiralling when the Indian troops undertook measures to strengthen their positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change the status quo on the southern bank of Pangong Tso.
The new rules of engagement removed certain restrictions which had been put on the soldiers. “The rules of engagement have changed. The Army commander on the ground will decide on the tactics to be used to counter any kind of aggression. There is nothing now that binds the commander from taking certain kinds of tactical decisions,” a source told ThePrint.
This decision was taken following the Galwan valley clash when the two sides got into the worst brawl in four decades that lead to 20 Indian casualties. “The Chinese have been told both at diplomatic and military levels that rules of engagement have changed. India will counter forcefully any kind of misstep or violence by China,” another source said.
As per media reports, the Chinese troops used crude weapons like clubs and sticks with nails on them to attack the Indian troops who had gone to check on the Patrol Point 14 when the Galwan valley clash broke out.
Sources said that the new rules will allow Indian Army commanders to have the full freedom to put in use any instrument under his command for tactical operations as deemed fit.
Previously, not all soldiers would carry firearms during patrolling. This was done in line with the 1996 agreement between India and China, which says “neither side shall open fire or conduct blast operations within 2 km of the Line of Actual Control”.
However, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was not just violating the 1996 bilateral agreement but similar agreements that were signed in 1993 and 2013.
“The sheer violence and barbarity being displayed by the Chinese troops is shocking and goes against every agreement signed between India and China. In wake of this, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and rules of engagement are being looked into,” ThePrint earlier quoted a source.
These changes helped the Indian troops to counteraction at the southern bank of Pangong Tso. As reported earlier by EurAsian Times, the Indian Army said that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had been conducting “provocative” actions at the contested area of Pangong Tso, on the intervening night of 29-30 August.
Describing the incident, Colonel Aman Anand (PRO, Indian Army) said, “Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity on the southern bank of Pangong Tso lake, undertook measures to strengthen our positions and thwart Chinese intentions to unilaterally change facts on the ground.”
Meanwhile, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Gen. Wei Fengheon pushed for the restoration of status quo ante to end all friction between two nations.
Met with the Chinese Defence Minister, General Wei Fenghe in Moscow. pic.twitter.com/Jex9gKCf98
— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) September 4, 2020
“The meeting between Raksha Mantri Shri @rajnathsingh and Chinese Defence Minister, General Wei Fenghe in Moscow is over. The meeting lasted for 2 hours and 20 minutes,” Singh’s office tweeted.
Reports hints that the Indian delegation strongly objected to the PLA’s fresh attempts to change the status quo in the southern bank of Pangong lake in eastern Ladakh and emphasized on the resolution of the standoff through talks.