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Soldiers can use firearms at LAC, Govt. changes rules of engagement

After the violent face-off between the Indian and Chinese armies on Monday night, the India government has changed the rules of engagement along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The new rule would no longer bound the field commanders by the restrictions on the use of firearms. Commanders will have the authority to order troops to use firearms under “extraordinary” circumstances.

The Indian side is expected to discuss the matter with the Chinese Army during the proposed Corps Commander level talks to defuse the tensions.

As per the border agreement signed between the two countries in 1996 and 2005, both sides had agreed not to use firearms within two kilometres of the LAC.

Article 6 of the agreement on confidence-building measures in the military field along the LAC, signed 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”.

The clash in Galwan Valley was the biggest confrontation between the Indian and Chinese troops since the agreement was signed. The incident near Patrolling Point 14 claimed 20 personnel lives who removed a Chinese observation post from there.

Meanwhile, the Indian government is in talks with Russia to acquire 33 new fighter aircraft, including 21 MiG-29s and 12 Sukhoi-30MKIs. India has pushed the proposal under the emergency purchase so that the fighter jets that can be delivered at short notice.

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