General Bipin Rawat, the Chief of Defence Staff in India, on Friday said that the situation along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh remains “tense amidst transgressions and belligerent actions by the Chinese”, adding that the border confrontations and unprovoked tactical military acts “spiralling into larger conflict can’t be discounted”.
During a webinar organised by the National Defence College in Delhi, General Rawat said, “The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is facing unanticipated consequences of its misadventure in Ladakh because of Indian Army’s firm and strong response. Our posturing is unambiguous-status quo has to be restored and we’ll not accept any shifting of LAC. 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.”
The CDS slammed neighbouring Pakistan for stoking a proxy war in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. “Pakistan has continued to remain the epicentre of armed Islamic insurgency and terrorism. For three decades now, the Pakistan army and it’s intelligence agency ISI have been waging a proxy war in J&K.”
Rawat further hit out at Islamabad for “increasingly resorting to non-kinetic means by launching vicious anti-India rhetoric on social media & propagating false communal narrative to create social disharmony within India”, an claimed that the current economic crisis in Pakistan is due to “its inability to come out of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) grey list”
“The rising religious & ethnic fundamentalism, internal power struggles will push it further into instability in the foreseeable future,” he said.
Besides, Rawat underlined the need to focus on India’s bid in self-reliance in the defence sector.
“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. 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,” Rawat said during the Diamond Jubilee Webinar.
“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,” he concluded.
The Indian Army is set to press for comprehensive disengagement of troops by the Chinese PLA from all the friction points in eastern Ladakh at the eighth round of Corps Commander-level talks on Friday, official sources said. The talks are slated to begin at 9:30 am in Chushul on the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the sources said on Thursday.
Nearly 50,000 Indian Army troops are currently deployed in a high state of combat readiness in various mountainous locations in eastern Ladakh in sub-zero conditions as multiple rounds of talks between the two sides have not yielded concrete outcome to resolve the six-month-long military standoff. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has also deployed an equal number of troops, according to officials.