Speaking at the annual press conference ahead of the Army Day on 15 January, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane has said that the two-front threat to India’s security from China and Pakistan is manifesting on the ground.
“There is no doubt that collusive threat exists. This is not just something which was part of some strategy paper or loud thought process,” the Army Chief said, adding that this threat is “very much manifesting itself on the ground”.
“There is indeed increased cooperation between China and Pakistan in both military and non military fields. A two-front threat is very much something that we have to be prepared to deal with,” the Army Chief said.
The Army Chief, in a possible reference to China, said that the Indian Army will have to identify the more serious threat and deal with it on priority.
“In dealing with such a threat, we will of course have to see which is a more serious threat and prioritise and deal with that first,” he said.
He added that the threat of “collusivity can’t be wished away (sic)“.
He made this statement just hours after Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat and Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhadauria, Chief of Air Staff, reached eastern Ladakh to take stock of the situation along the Line of Actual Control.
Talking about the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh, the Army Chief said the Chinese military mobilisation last year was a “routine affair” and the Indian Army was fully aware of their [People’s Liberation Army] deployment”.
“..but they had a first movers advantage. We had this advantage in August when we surprised the Chinese despite eyeball to eyeball confrontation,” he noted.
General Naravane said that India and China have held multiple rounds of talks to resolve the crisis and the dates for the next round are awaited.
He also noted that there has been no change in the deployment of the People’s Liberation Army at the friction points along the Line of Actual Control, adding that a solution could be found based on the idea of “mutual and equal security”.
“We are ready to hold our ground as long as it takes to meet our national objectives,” General Naravane said in response to a question.
On Pakistan, the Army Chief said the country continues to infiltrate terrorists into Indian territory and the army reserves the right to respond to all its provocations along the Line of Control at a place and time of its choosing.
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