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Tasers, Pepper Spray: Chinese PLA Soldiers Patrol Disputed LAC Areas with Unconventional Weapons

There are three disputed areas along the LAC in the Tawang district -- the Namka Chu Valley, Sumdorong Chu and Yangtse --which see patrolling by both India and China. (PTI File)
There are three disputed areas along the LAC in the Tawang district -- the Namka Chu Valley, Sumdorong Chu and Yangtse --which see patrolling by both India and China. (PTI File)

The Indian Army is training its troops at high altitudes and in intense physical exercises, combat techniques and other drills every day.

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Amrita Nayak Dutta| News18.com
Tawang sector (Arunachal Pradesh) // Updated: October 25, 2021, 14:16 IST

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers continue carrying a variety of unconventional weapons such as tasers, pepper spray, sticks, clubs with metal spikes—along with their rifles and pistols—whenever they patrol the disputed areas along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), government sources told News18.com.

A Taser is non-lethal weapon, which gives an electric shock when it comes in close proximity to a person and temporarily incapacitates them.

According to sources, the PLA soldiers also bring along batons and mace-like weapons but attached with a sharp blade. The weapons are short in length thus providing the user the flexibility of swinging them with their wrist and forearm.

A government source said these weapons could as well be lethal and deadly in contact. He added that they can severely injure a soldier, requiring his evacuation.

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However, sources emphasised that India is also procuring body armours and similar weapons so that the Chinese soldiers can be countered during any contingency that may arise during patrolling.

A set of primitive weapons used by the Chinese such as stick machetes were also seen in the Galwan valley clashes between Indian and Chinese troops at eastern Ladakh in June last year. The PLA troops had carried barbed clubs and tasers in the clashes.

According to an ANI report, a Noida-based start-up is providing Indian troops with non-lethal weapons, including spiked tasers named Vajra and weapons shaped like Trishul, which can effectively disable the enemy during a hand-to-hand combat.

A second government official said the Chinese soldiers also wear Personal Protective Equipment kits during patrols most likely as a precaution against Covid-19.

India and China have been locked in a military standoff since May last year in eastern Ladakh. In September last year, India and China accused each other of firing shots in the air. This was the first time in 45 years that shots were fired along the LAC.

Last week, Eastern Army Commander Lt. Gen. Manoj Pande had told a group of journalists that there has been a “marginal increase" in Chinese patrolling activities at the LAC, but further said local commanders resolve any face-off that takes place with Indian troops as per set protocols.

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“We have a robust conflict-resolution mechanism. The local commanders play an important role here as they have a mutual understanding with the commanders of the other side. Three hotlines were already there and a fourth one has also been operationalised," he said.

>Disputed Areas Along LAC in Tawang Sector

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There are three disputed areas along the LAC in the Tawang district — the Namka Chu Valley, Sumdorong Chu and Yangtse — which see patrolling by both sides.

The Sumdorong Chu Valley, which lies near the Thag La Ridge, had in the past seen a long military standoff between India and China. The standoff began in the summers of 1986 and lasted till August 1995 after multiple levels of military- and diplomatic-level talks.

Earlier this month, there was a face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers near Yangtse when the latter came in large numbers for an aggressive patrol.

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Defence officials explained when Indian and Chinese patrols meet, pushing and jostling and some unarmed combat take place.

As reported by News18, this is a reason why the Army is training its troops at high altitudes and under extreme weather conditions in intense physical exercises and unarmed combat techniques and drills every day for three hours under ‘PLAN 190’ programme here.

Soldiers at other integrated defended localities along the LAC undergo similar training and drills every day.

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China has also increased the frequency and duration of annual training exercises along the LAC at the eastern borders and has also continued deploying some of its reserve formations at the depth areas, Lt. Gen Pande had said, adding that India has ramped up infrastructure close to LAC, has adopted advanced technology for border surveillance and is prepared to respond to any contingency.

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first published: October 25, 2021, 14:15 IST