Bipin Rawat targets China, says border confrontations could lead to wider conflict

The Asian Age.  | Pawan Bali

India, All India

Gen Rawat statement is the strongest direct attack on China by any high ranking Indian government official

Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat (PTI file photo)

New Delhi: The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said on Friday that Chinese Army is facing “unanticipated consequences of its misadventure in Ladakh" and possibility of border confrontations leading to a wider conflict can’t be ruled out.

“The situation along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh remains tense and the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is facing unanticipated consequences of its misadventure in Ladakh because of the Indian defence forces firm and strong response,” said Gen Rawat  at the diamond jubilee webinar of the National Defence College.

He said that India will not accept any shifting of the line of actual control (LAC). “In the overall security calculus, border confrontation, transgressions and unprovoked tactical military actions spiralling into a larger conflict cannot be discounted,” said the CDS.

Gen Rawat statement is the strongest direct attack on China by any high ranking Indian government official. Indian government ministers and official have mostly avoided naming China directly while talking about Chinese aggression on the LAC.

Gen Rawat said that China and Pakistan acting in collusion poses a threat. “Constant friction with two of our nuclear armed neighbours, with whom India has fought wars, increasingly acting in collusion, poses an omnipresent danger of regional strategic instability with the potential for escalation threatening our territorial integrity and strategic cohesion,” he said.

Gen Rawat said that unabated proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir being leashed from Pakistan, a vicious anti-India rhetoric on social media and efforts to create social disharmony within the country have taken the India-Pakistan relations to a new low. He said that the surgical strikes post Uri terror attack and the Balakot air strikes have delivered a strong message to Pakistan that it no longer enjoys the impunity of pushing terrorists across the line of control (LoC) under the nuclear bogey. He said that new Indian template has injected ambiguity and uncertainty in Pakistan.

“Despite its internal instability, failing economy, international isolation and vitiated civil-military relations, Pakistan will continue to profess that Kashmir is their unfinished agenda. Its army will continue to raise the bogey of an existential threat from India to justify its disproportionately large strength and need for funds to maintain its war fighting capabilities,” said Gen Rawat.  

He said that Indian Ocean remains a zone of peace, albeit, one of continued contestation.

“Off late we are witnessing a geo-strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific and the race for strategic places and bases in the IOR is only going to gain momentum with time. The future would witness increasing militarization of key Belt and Road outposts in the IOR,” he added.