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Sunday, April 11, 2021

India changes LAC rules after China clash: What does it mean?

The Indian Army has changed the rules of engagement along the actual line of control (LAC) with China. Along with our top military brass, defence minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the operational readiness along the LAC on Sunday. But what does this revised set of LAC rules mean? In simple words, army has now full-freedom to take on China, the way they judge it’s best.

Defence officials on Sunday said that India is determined to impose costs on Chinese troops if they attempt any further misadventure on the border.

The deadly clashes between India and China on June 15 witnessed the death of 20 soldiers on our side. The Indian government claimed that over 40 soldiers were killed on the Chinese side. The LAC has been the bone of contention that led to the violent stand-off at Galwan valley. The clashes have been the most violent since the 1962 Sino-Indian war.

Now let’s understand what do these changed LAC rules would mean for India in 5 points

1. Field commanders to have more powers now

New weapon rules mean field commanders will now have more power and autonomy to sanction use of firearms as per ‘extraordinary circumstances”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already claimed of giving full-freedom to the army to deal with the ground situation.

According to reports, though diplomatic talks will follow to end the border stalemate on the ground, this move will certainly give more confidence to the Indian Army to react effectively in case of extreme provocation as it happened on June 15, say experts.

2. Army has full freedom to decide their course of action

Now army will decide its course of action with more autonomy. The Centre has given them green signal. It means no more red-tapism or government sanctions need to be acquired ahead of every army move on the field. Government officials said the army will use its power in an “adequate and proportionate manner” to any hostile act by the enemy in accordance with their judgement.

It is true that India is taking a big leap from its previous stand in terms of handling border crises with China. Now with even navy and air force too having increased preparedness, it can be certainly said that India is in no mood to allow any sort of PLA misadventure. We’re tougher and better now!

3. The Chinese changed their LAC rules before us

The Chinese changed their LAC rules much before India could do so and this is why they used crude weapons on our jawans on June 15. India had to pay heavy price to that bully. But since China only understands the language of a bully, India couldn’t sit back and continue with the existing LAC rules. It had to alter them. Experts suggest that the Chinese should have been dealt with aggression when they provoked the Indian Army first in the recent times in May. They condemned China’s use of crude weapons on Indian soldiers when both the nations are nuclear powers.

4. Did the death of 20 soldiers lead India to change its weapon rules?

India changed the LAC rules in less than a week after the violent clash at eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley. As per reports, despite carrying weapons, the Indian soldiers couldn’t open fire at their enemy on June 15 as the previous bilateral agreements were in place then. The Chinese soldiers attacked our jawans with iron rods, nail-studded clubs, stones and batons wrapped with barbed wires among other such things. However, our jawans could only resort to hand-to-hand combat. And we all know the costly price we had to pay in return.

5.  What were the previous LAC and weapon rules?

According to the previous agreements on rules of engagement that was signed between the troops of India and China in 1996 and 2005, both the sides decided not to open fire at each other. The countries are also not allowed to use or firearms or explosives within 2km of either side of the LAC.

Though hand-to-hand combat became almost a routine, since 1962, no army personnel was killed on either side until the recent one in June. Many are of opinion that China allowed its soldiers to equip themselves in riot gears and gave them nail-studded clubs in a defeatist mindset. And this marked the fact that they would try deadlier attempts to face our jawans.

It is a requisite for the army to have enhanced power and autonomy to face the enemy they way it needs to. However, we the commoners hope that such needs never emerge further and peace prevails.

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