Warns that similar standoff incidents may increase in future
Sino-India standoff at Doklam is considered to be a matter of concern among defense experts around the world. This was echoed by India’s Army Chief General Bipin Rawat Saturday who has expressed concern over China’s attempt to “change the status quo” and expressed apprehension that Doklam like incidents may “increase” in future.
“The recent stand-off in the Doklam plateau by the Chinese side attempting to change the status quo are issues which we need to be wary about, and I think such kind of incidents are likely to increase in the future,” Rawat said.
While delivering General B C Joshi Memorial Lecture on ‘India’s Challenges in the Current Geo-Strategic Construct’ in Pune, he said “Pockets of dispute and contested claims to the territory continue to exist. These are due to differing perceptions on the alignments of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).”
“Transgressions across Line of Actual Control do happen and sometimes they do lead to some kind of misunderstanding between the forward troops. However, we do have joint mechanisms in place to address such situations,” said Rawat.
He said that during the flag meetings with Chinese counterparts, the Indian Army keeps insisting that both sides should return to the pre-June 16 positions (before the stand- off began), but no resolution has been found yet. “Now it is happening at the diplomatic and political level, as it needs to be resolved diplomatically and through political initiatives,” he said.
General Bipin Rawat further said that Chinese armed forces have made significant progress in capabilities for mobilization, application and sustenance of operations, particularly in the Tibet autonomous region of China.
“This is due to the development of force infrastructure of military significance. Their force reorganization along with developing capabilities in space and network-centric warfare is likely to provide them greater synergy in force application,” Rawat said.
While elaborating his statement that incidents like Doklam are likely to “increase”, Rawat told reporters that, “We should not be complacent. Let us say that this stand-off is resolved, but our troops should not feel that it cannot happen again in different sector.”
The Army Chief described about how China was growing its influence in the regional security environment. “It is doing so by increasing defense and economic partnerships in the neighborhood, especially in Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. He asserted that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) challenges India’s sovereignty.”
He expressed his doubts if India-China joint exercises will take place this year, which is till date, is scheduled for October. Beijing has not yet confirmed if joint exercise will take place this year, he said.
Meanwhile General Rawat slammed Pakistan for waging a proxy war in Jammu & Kashmir and said the increasing fundamental ideologies in that country is a matter of grave concern.
“Pakistan’s unabated reliance and support to Jihadi groups have serious ramifications. This can lead to the possibility of Pakistan being a conduit for the eastward spread of fundamentalist and the Islamic ideology. This lends a complex dimension to the threat not only for us, but also for other countries of South and East Asia, including China,” Rawat said.