Calling the violence at the Line of Actual Control by the Chinese side as completely unprecedented, former head of Indian Army’s Northern Command Lieutenant General (Retd) DS Hooda said clear rules of engagement are required going forward.
The retired General, under whose leadership India carried out the surgical strikes against terror camps in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, told CNN-News18 this is not the first time that China has resorted to violence along the border, but the situation never escalated to this extent.
His reaction came a day after the Army confirmed that at least 20 Indian armed forces personnel were killed in a clash with Chinese troops at the Galwan Valley in Ladakh.
Government sources say at least another two dozen soldiers are battling life-threatening injuries, and over 110 have needed treatment. “The toll will likely go up,” a military officer with knowledge of the issue said.
“I am sure that there are casualties on both sides...we are in a situation where Chinese are resorting to violence and this is not for the first time,” he said.
Lt General Hooda also called upon the Indian authorities to be more firm in responding to the Chinese aggression while making statements, as the government had till now maintained that military and diplomatic dialogue was being used to defuse the border row that has lasted for more than a month.
In his first reaction since the deaths of the soldiers were first confirmed on Tuesday afternoon, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday gave his condolences to the families of 20 soldiers who laid down their lives in the violence face-off, but did not mention China.
"The loss of soldiers in Galwan is deeply disturbing and painful. Our soldiers displayed exemplary courage and valour in the line of duty and sacrificed their lives in the highest traditions of the Indian Army," Singh tweeted.
“The Nation will never forget their bravery and sacrifice. My heart goes out to the families of the fallen soldiers. The nation stand shoulder to shoulder with them in this difficult hour. We are proud of the bravery and courage of India's breavehearts," the defence minister added.