‘Indian troops free to fire if they face hostile action by PLA on LAC’
Officials highlight the fact that for the first time in decades, the Chinese side lost soldiers in combat during the Galwan clash
The Indian soldiers at forward posts along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) have been given clear instructions to open fire if they face hostile action such as mass attack or attempts to overrun posts by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
A top government official told The Economic Times that there will no longer be any primitive fighting on the LAC with batons or stones. “They have got the message that the pushing and shoving activities will no longer be tolerated,” the official said, adding that the same holds true for the use of “primitive weapons”.
The report by The Economic Times said there have been reports of multiple rounds of firing, described as warning shots, on the north and south banks of the Pangong Lake. The official pointed out that only small arms have been used.
Officials say the Galwan clash was unfortunate and highlight the fact that for the first time in decades, the Chinese side lost soldiers in combat. This was a clear signal to PLA that India will go to any cost to protect its borders. The official also revealed that during diplomatic talks, the Chinese admitted to at least five casualties in the clash including the PLA battalion commander. The report stated that the actual number of PLA casualties could be several times higher.
China has deployed over 50,000 troops, tanks, artillery guns and other equipment along the LAC. The official said there has not been any intelligence failure as the PLA movement was tracked at every junction. “The PLA always had the capability but their intentions changed overnight. There was no intelligence failure as it was impossible to get the last minute intelligence of when a formation decides to move ahead, the official was quoted saying.
Shedding light on the LAC situation, officials disclosed that on May 5, three incidents took place - clashes at Galwan and Pangong and a faceoff at Nakula in Sikkim. At Pangong, a normal standoff took place at Finger 4 that usually has 30 to 40 soldiers from each side.
In May, the PLA moved in more than 1,000 extra troops behind the first line of 30 to 40 soldiers to Finger 4 to occupy ridges which led to faceoffs every day. “Then one day they came in much larger numbers. This could not have been predicted,” the official said, according to the report.