The Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force have been told to be “prepared for the worst” and placed on the highest level of alert, sources said. All three service chiefs and CDS General Bipin Rawat earlier huddled in a meeting with defence minister Rajnath Singh. Sources said that the local commander has been given a free hand and told to give a befitting reply “irrespective of what the standard operating procedure says”.
Sources in the government said the Cabinet Committee on Security Affairs had given the Indian Army emergency-time powers to deal with Chinese aggression at the Line of Actual Control (LoAC), exercising its autonomy. The government made the decision in the aftermath of a violent clash that took place on Monday night which resulted in the martyrdom of 20 Indian soldiers including a colonel rank officer.
The Indian retaliation has already cost the Chinese their 43 soldiers, which Sirf News was the only media house to report last night.
The government has reportedly given Indian Army a free hand to act as they see fit in the Galwan Valley region where the clashes took place.
“In order to discuss the situation in the India-China border areas, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for an all-party meeting at 5 PM on 19th June. Presidents of various political parties would take part in this virtual meeting,” The Office of the Prime Minister said in a statement on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said that the sovereignty of the Galwan valley area has always belonged to China. “The Indian border troops flip-flopped and seriously violated our border protocols on border-related issues and the consensus of our commander level talks,” Lijian said.
“From the Chinese side, we do not wish to see more clashes, says Zhao Lijian, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson on the Galwan Valley clash. “We are having communication through diplomatic and military channels. The right and wrong of this is very clear. ..The incident happened on the Chinese side of LAC and China is not to blame for it.” Zhao Lijian said.
India has rubbished the statement from China.
India blamed China on Tuesday for trying to unilaterally alter the status quo on the Line of Actual Control at Galwan and for departing from the consensus reached at the senior commanders’ meeting on 6 June, which led to the violence clashes.
“On the late evening and night of 15 June, a violent face-off happened as a result of an attempt by the Chinese side to unilaterally change the status quo there (Galwan).
Both sides suffered casualties that could have been avoided had the agreement at the higher level been scrupulously followed by the Chinese side,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.
“We remain firmly convinced of the need for the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in the border areas and the resolution of differences through dialogue.”
“At the same time, we are also strongly committed to ensuring India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
New Delhi said it has adopted a responsible approach to border management, and is very clear that all its activities are always within the Indian side of the LAC. “We expect the same of the Chinese side,” the spokesperson said. Following Monday’s bloodshed, India’s Ambassador to China Vikram Misri met senior Chinese foreign ministry officials to discuss the LAC incident.
India said it was China which broke the consensus and must make amends. “While it was our expectation that this would unfold smoothly, the Chinese side departed from the consensus to respect the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the Galwan Valley.”