New Delhi, January 12
Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday accepted that China is exerting greater pressure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) saying they would defend every such intrusion.
There is no settled border between the neighbours and the 3,488-km-long LAC is the de facto boundary.
Addressing a press conference ahead of Army Day, he said, “China is a powerful country but we are not a weak nation.”
When asked if the media reports indicating increased activity by the Chinese along the LAC were correct, he said, “Both sides have increased patrol intensity so the contacts (troops coming face to face) are increasing. The varying perception of the LAC is causing overlapping claims but we have mechanism to counter the same.”
“Whenever an intrusion takes place we will defend,” he said while citing the recent incident at Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh where India confiscated Chinese road-building equipment. “We are in a dominating position at Siang Valley. China is behind. It appears to be a case of mistaken alignment.”
“There are other areas where we are vulnerable due to lack of infrastructure. We have allocated troops which will take care.”
He said a hotline is coming up at the DGMO level between India and China that could sort out the increased number of intrusions.
“At the military level our focus has to shift on the northern borders. For too long we have focused on western border,” Gen Rawat said.
“To say that it will be an attrition battle and to think that China will come rolling down the hills, it may not happen.”
Speaking on Dokalam, he said up to June 2016 it was innocuous activity, but in June 2017 it became serious, so they intervened. The de-escalation has happened.
“Movement (from China) could take place after winter and we will take a call. In the west of Torsa nullah called northern Doklam the People’s Liberation Army of China has occupied the area. At the actual spot the two sides have disengaged. The tanks and guns that had moved in are gone. The tents remain. The observation posts remain. This is a territory disputed between Bhutan and China,” he said.
On being asked about the preparation of a simultaneous two-front war with Pakistan and China, he said, “We are ready for this contingency. We have plans to deal with this.”
Gen Rawat said, “In the last one year, we have built capacity to move ammunition and even troops from one sector to another.”
He said, “If Pakistan raises a nuclear bogey, we will have to call their bluff. We cannot say that we will not cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff.”