'Let us get the facts straight...': External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar slams Rahul Gandhi over 'unarmed' soldiers comment
Photo: File/PTI

On Monday night Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a violent clash at the country's shared border in eastern Ladakh. The altercation has left 20 Indian Army officials dead and others injured. Indian intercepts had earlier said that 43 officials on the Chinese side had been injured or killed.

Reacting to the same on Thursday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had posted a video on Twitter where he can be seen asking why Indian soldiers were "sent UNARMED to martyrdom".

"How dare China kill our UNARMED soldiers?" he wondered.

Now, as we'd already mentioned in previous articles (including the link above) a bilateral agreement signed in 1996 had the two countries agree to not open fire within two kilometers from the Line of Actual Control.

As Article VI states, "Neither side shall open fire, cause bio-degradation, use hazardous chemicals, conduct blast operations or hunt with guns or explosives within two kilometers from the line of actual control. This prohibition shall not apply to routine firing activities in small arms firing ranges."

Now, Union Minister for External Affairs S Jaishankar has stepped into the virtual discussion to explain the same to Rahul Gandhi.

"Let us get the facts straight," began Jaishankar's response to the tweet. He said that all troop who are on border duty "always carry arms, especially when leaving post".

"Those at Galwan on 15 June did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 and 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs," he added.

Following the attack, people have been vocal in their outrage. While many have called for suitable retaliation from India, others have called for a ban on Chinese products and services. Protests have also broken out in different parts of the country, with people destroying what are presumably Chinese goods, and burning effigies of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

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