File photo of External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar
All Indian troops guarding the border with China carry arms, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Thursday, replying to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's poser that why Army personnel in Galwan Valley were sent "unarmed to martyrdom".
The minister said armies of the two sides do not use firearms as per provisions of two bilateral agreements sealed in 1996 and 2005.
"Let us get the facts straight. All troops on border duty always carry arms, especially when leaving post. Those at Galwan on 15 June did so. Long-standing practice (as per 1996 & 2005 agreements) not to use firearms during faceoffs," Jaishankar tweeted.
Earlier, Gandhi questioned why Indian soldiers were sent "unarmed to martyrdom" in Ladakh and who is responsible for sending them towards danger. He also asked how China dared to kill the Indian soldiers.
Twenty Indian Army personnel including a Colonel were killed in the fierce clash between the two armies in Galwan Valley on Monday evening. China has not yet released any casualty figures.