Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday called for a strong response to Chinese aggression in Ladakh that peaked with the death of 20 Indian soldiers in a clash this week, saying, “If they kill one of ours, kill five of theirs.”
He also demanded why Indian soldiers were sent to defend the Line of Actual Control without weapons. “Somebody should be answerable for this. Why were they sent without weapons? This is not the stone age that you send unarmed soldiers to fight the Chinese. Send RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) workers with lathis instead not our soldiers,” Captain Singh said.
“I don’t know who issued this orders. Troops should always patrol with weapons. The Chinese came prepared, our boys were not prepared. My first posting was in 1963 on the Chinese border, none of us went out without our weapons,” he said.
Captain Singh said Chinese were following a “salami policy”, taking over Indian territory slice by slice. He also said that China’s action should be met with a strong reaction like the air strikes in Pakistan’s Balakot following the Pulwama terror attack last year.
“What do you mean you can’t do a Balakot? What are the Biharis and Punjabis sitting there for? The moment this incident this took place, there should have been a reaction? You think we should chicken out to the Chinese?” he said.
Captain Singh’s reaction came in response to the violent face-off which took place at nearly 15,000 feet in the Himalayas along the freezing Galwan River on Monday that saw Indian soldiers attacked with iron rods, rocks wrapped in barbed wire and nail-studded clubs. Some soldiers fell off a steep ridge into the river.
The clash involving hundreds of soldiers erupted when a small Indian patrol moved to remove a Chinese tent at the Galwan river valley and Chinese soldiers targeted Indian Colonel B Santosh Babu. China had agreed to remove the tent after the talks between military commanders of both sides on June 6.
Speaking out on the incident after two days, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that the sacrifice of the Indian soldiers would not go in vain and warned that India would give a fitting reply if provoked.