NEW DELHI, June 21 - The armed forces deployed along the 3,500-km de-facto border with China have been given �full freedom� to give a �befitting� response to any Chinese misadventure, government sources said after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the situation in eastern Ladakh at a meeting with the top military brass on Sunday.
The meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane, Navy Chief Admiral Karambir Singh and Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria.
India has already mobilised fighter jets and sent thousands of additional Army troops to forward locations along the border with China after 20 Indian Army personnel were killed in a brutal attack by Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh�s Galwan Valley on June 15.
The clash in Galwan Valley, the worst cross-border violence in 45 years, significantly frayed ties between the two countries, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi sending a strong message to China that India wants peace but if provoked, India is capable of giving a befitting reply.
In the meeting on Sunday, Singh told the top military officers to maintain a strict vigil on Chinese activities around the land border, the airspace and in strategic sea lanes, the sources said.
Following the Galwan incident, military sources said Indian troops will no longer be bound by the long-held practice of not using firearms in faceoffs.
The armed forces were told to be fully ready to give a befitting reply to any Chinese misadventure, the sources said, adding a �tough� approach is being adopted to guard the border.
Seventy-six Indian soldiers were also injured in the Galwan Valley clash. China�s People�s Liberation Army has not yet talked about the number of casualties it suffered.
The sources said the armed forces have been given full freedom to deal with any act of aggression by China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the de-facto border between the two countries.
The two armies had mutually decided not to resort to use firearms during face-offs in sync with provisions of two agreements on border management. The agreements were signed in 1996 and 2005. � PTI