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Indian Army commanders get a free hand at border with China

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held an hour-long meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs to assess the LAC situation.

Published: 22nd June 2020 08:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd June 2020 03:34 PM   |  A+A-

BJP activists burn an effigy of Chinese President Xi Jinping during a protest against the killing of 20 Indian Army soldiers in Ladakh's Galwan Valley by the Chinese troops, in Patna

BJP activists burn an effigy of Chinese President Xi Jinping during a protest against the killing of 20 Indian Army soldiers in Ladakh's Galwan Valley by the Chinese troops, in Patna. (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: While giving Army commanders along the Line of Actual Control the freedom to improvise depending on Chinese aggression, India on Sunday summoned Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong to lodge a strong protest against the June 15 violent face-off. It also emerged that the US is talking to both sides to try and defuse the border crisis.

“It is a very tough situation. We are talking to India. We are talking to China. They have got a big problem there. They have come to blows, and we will see what happens. We will try and help them out,” US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held an hour-long meeting with Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs to assess the LAC situation. Taking independent decisions to deal with the ‘belligerence’ of the Chinese troops was discussed and re-emphasised, sources said. The surprise Chinese attack on June 15 on Indian soldiers in Galwan’s Patrolling Point 14 with rods and bamboo sticks studded with nails came as a rude shock to the soldiers bound by protocols.

“Indian Army’s discipline and commitment towards the protocols was misused by the Chinese troops who ambushed them in a planned manner, which led to the loss of 20 lives. Now the commanders are free to improvise their reactions befitting the Chinese actions and to reply them in their own language.” a senior officer said. An important indication came from Finger 4, which has been the most complicated stand-off point. “We have  been asked to not hold ourselves but to show strength at Finger 4 after the Galwan incident,” a source said.

The Defence Minister’s meeting with the CDS and the services chiefs assumes significance as the meetings between Indian and Chinese military officers in the Eastern Ladakh halted after three days. Thursday was the last meeting when the 10 Indian soldiers were released by the Chinese side. The stand-off between the two armies continues at two points in Galwan Valley, Patrolling Point 14 and Patrolling Point 15, at Gogra Post (Patrolling Point 17A) in the Hot Spring Sector and Finger 4 on the Northern Flank of the Pangong Tso Lake.

Soldiers in equal numbers  from both countries are positioned on both sides of Patrolling Point 14, sources said. The stand-off remains at other points also, confirmed the sources. As for Trump, the US president had earlier offered to mediate but his offer was rejected by both India and China which said they were engaged in peaceful military and diplomatic discussions. The Trump administration has stood by India and blamed China for escalation of tensions.

Very tough situation

“It is a very tough situation. We are talking to India. We are talking to China. They have got a big problem there,” US President Donald Trump said regarding the situation persisting between the two neighbours

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