Army chief talks tough on China

While Gen Naravane keeps the powder dry and his troops man the LAC for the second successive winter, it is time for the political leadership to go back to the drawing board in search of a resolution
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson’s description of Gen Naravane’s remarks as “unconstructive” thus seems especially odious, when it is the Chinese side that has been unhelpful and unenthusiastic in its efforts to resolve the standoff. (ANI) PREMIUM
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson’s description of Gen Naravane’s remarks as “unconstructive” thus seems especially odious, when it is the Chinese side that has been unhelpful and unenthusiastic in its efforts to resolve the standoff. (ANI)
Updated on Jan 13, 2022 08:45 PM IST
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ByHT Editorial

With diplomatic and military talks between India and China failing to lead to comprehensive disengagement and de-escalation in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) almost two years after the two sides got into a military standoff, Indian Army chief, General MM Naravane, has signalled that New Delhi will not let down its guard even as it persists with the path of dialogue. He said at a media briefing that wars are instruments of last resort, but that India expects to emerge victorious if such a course is resorted to. And, in the face of numerous reports of China beefing up its military infrastru-cture in disputed border regions, Gen Naravane made it clear that India too has bolstered its position enough to take on anything that is thrown at the country.

The truth is there are no other options for the Indian side. As in the case of other countries that have been at the receiving end of China’s belligerence and aggressive actions, India’s policy-makers have realised that Beijing’s engagement in talks appears to be aimed more at dragging out the standoff while the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), bolstered by the country’s new land border law, tries to increase its presence in disputed regions on the borders. This is happening in both India and Bhutan.

More evidence is emerging that Chinese actions to strengthen border infrastructure, including roads, bridges, airports and missile positions, began in 2019, many months before the standoff did. This evidence suggests China’s ultimate aim is to enforce its unilaterally defined claim line of 1959 as the LAC. China also appears to have scant regard for various agreements and protocols that ensured peace and tranquillity on the LAC for decades. Even in the face of such provocations, India has opted to persist with the path of dialogue, though it has also shown it is capable of thwarting further unilateral attempts by China to alter the status quo on the LAC. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson’s description of Gen Naravane’s remarks as “unconstructive” thus seems especially odious, when it is the Chinese side that has been unhelpful and unenthusiastic in its efforts to resolve the standoff. While Gen Naravane keeps the powder dry and his troops man the LAC for the second successive winter, it is time for the political leadership to go back to the drawing board in search of a resolution.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022