In view of the treacherous and deceptive attacks by the Chinese troops on the Indian soldiers in the night of 15 June, the Northern Command of the Indian Army has begun equipping its soldiers with lightweight riot gear. Sources said the first consignment of 500 sets of full-body protectors was airlifted from the Mumbai-based supplier to Leh where it is to be distributed among troops deployed along the LoAC.
Chinese soldiers’ attack on unarmed Indian soldiers — who were honouring the convention of not carrying weapons to a site of meeting — that night has garnered outrage on social media.
Earlier, the army had issued a statement, saying that the clash between the two sides happened as a result of an attempt by Chinese soldiers to ‘unilaterally change’ the status quo during de-escalation in eastern Ladakh. The army remarked on a sour note that the Chinese side was immoral in their conduct.
The Chinese assailants outnumbered Indian Army troopers 5:1 in what appeared, according to reports, a pre-planned ambush at patrolling point number 14 in the Galwan Valley on the LoAC. Officials had earlier stated that neither side used guns in the skirmish.
The Chinese carried rocks and barbed wires to attack Indians against the spirit of a meeting.
The two sides had signed a pact to not open fire within 2 km from the LoAC. This ensures prevention of “dangerous military activities” and does not apply to routine firing activities in small arms firing ranges.
The report says that the new bodysuit, which our soldiers deployed along the LoAC will get, comprises padded polycarbonate inserts. They will protect wearers from, significantly, sharp objects and stones. The army plans to equip its troops along the LoAC with spiked clubs too.
One senior military analyst who did not want to be named expressed concerns about the optics of gearing the army with riot control protectors. He said: “It means changing an army man’s mindset into a policeman’s.”
The army added that the Indian troops had reached the spot where the clashes happened without any animosity. It said the Indian side was making friendly gestures to the Chinese side. It said they were there to check if the de-escalation agreement was being followed as promised. “But they trapped and carried out the attacks, a purely savage act,” the army officer said.
India lost 20 of its brave soldiers in the skirmish, while the Chinese troops also suffered severe casualties as at least 43 Chinese troops are either injured or dead.