India’s Foreign Policy Is Not Linked to National Security

20 Indian soldiers including one commanding officer were killed and many more injured by Chinese troops at Galwan Valley, Patrol Point 14 on June 15. The Indian troops were unarmed while the Chinese had bats wrapped with barbed wire, iron rods etc.

On other occasions when the Indian troops are armed, they are not allowed to open fire and their weapon barrels must face downwards. This policy is based on an agreement reached between the two countries, during various meetings held in 1993, 1996, 2005 and 2015.

Even so, at various scuffles between the opposing troops the Chinese have been using sticks embedded with nails etc, while the Indian troops though armed with weapons could not use these.

Consequent to the killing of 20 unarmed Indian soldiers on June 15, and the consequent nationwide uproar, both the Prime Minister and Defence Minister of India gave the military freedom to take appropriate action during such incidents.

Obviously such freedom implies action at the local, tactical level at best. This simple and appropriate permission to the military has been severely criticised by a former foreign secretary of India, who argues that it amounts to abdication of political responsibility and opens doors for future crises in India-China relations, in other similar conflict situations.

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