On a day when India and China are holding their 8th round of Corps Commander-level talks in Chushul in eastern Ladakh amid the ongoing border standoff, the Indian military leadership on 6 November made it clear that the country will not accept any change in the Line of Actual Control (LoAC).
Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat today said the Indian military’s posturing along the border is unambiguous – that status quo has to be restored and that “we will not accept any shift in the Line of Actual Control”.
The talks today are being held to discuss the ways to address the ongoing military standoff along the LoAC. The Indian side is being led by 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen PGK Menon.
The CDS said the situation along LoAC in eastern Ladakh continues to remain tense amidst transgressions and belligerent actions by the Chinese and minced no words in saying that border confrontations and unprovoked military actions could spiral into a larger conflict.
“A full-scale conflict with China is low on probability, but border confrontations and unprovoked tactical military acts spiralling into larger conflict can’t be discounted,” he said during the Diamond Jubilee Webinar – 2020 organised by the National Defence College.
He further said that China’s People’s Liberation Army is facing unanticipated consequences for its misadventure in Ladakh because of firm responses by Indian forces.
New Indian template has injected uncertainty in Pak says Rawat
The CDS anoted that relations with Pakistan are at an all-time low in view of the continuing support to terrorism from across the border.
“Unabated proxy war in J&K unleashed by Pakistan accompanied by vicious anti-India rhetoric has taken Indo-Pak ties to a new low. Surgical strikes including the Balakot strikes have sent a strong message that Pakistan no longer enjoys impunity of pushing terrorists into India under nuclear bogey,” Gen Rawat told the event.
He said a new Indian template to deal with terrorism emanating from across the border has injected uncertainty in Pakistan.
“Pakistan has continued to remain the epicentre of armed Islamic insurgency and terrorism. For three decades now, Pakistan Army and its intelligence agency ISI, which have been waging a proxy war in J&K, have now increasingly started resorting to non-kinetic means by launching vicious anti-India rhetoric on social media and propagating false communal narrative to create social disharmony within India,” the CDS said.
He pointed out that Pakistan had become unstable over the past few years.
“Pakistan’s current economic crisis, its inability to come out of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list, rising religious and ethnic fundamentalism, and internal power struggles will push it further into instability in the foreseeable future,” he stated.
‘Atmanirbhar’ armed forces
The CDS stressed that India needs to become ‘atmanirbhar’ (self-reliant) as far as having access to modern defence equipment and weaponry is concerned.
“As India grows in stature, security challenges will rise proportionately. We must move out of the constant threat of sanctions or dependency on individual nations for our military requirements and invest in building long-term indigenous capability for strategic independence and application of decisive military power to squarely meet present and emerging challenges,” the CDS stated.
“As far as defence cooperation is concerned, we understand the importance of leveraging defence diplomacy in building mutual trust and partnerships with strategically important countries. In the coming years, we will see our defence industry growing exponentially and contributing to the overall defence preparedness and deliver us state-of-art weapons and equipment fully made in India,” he added.