China’s inroads into South Asia not in our national interests: General Bipin Rawat

At the first Ravi Kant Singh Memorial Lecture, General Rawat said Bangladesh and Myanmar have been the largest recipients of Chinese military aid in the recent past along with significant investments in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives to gain strategic foothold
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat with DG of Assam Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta in Guwahati on Saturday. General Rawat said China’s foray into South Asia and the Indian Ocean region is not in India’s national interests. (PTI)
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat with DG of Assam Police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta in Guwahati on Saturday. General Rawat said China’s foray into South Asia and the Indian Ocean region is not in India’s national interests. (PTI)
Published on Oct 23, 2021 11:50 PM IST
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GUWAHATI: China’s foray into South Asia and the Indian Ocean region is not in India’s national interest, chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said on Saturday, adding the northern neighbour’s ambitions and aspirations to global power presented an “omnipresent danger” to stability in South Asia.

“China is making big inroads in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region through the belt and road initiative projects. Of late we are witnessing a geo-strategic competition and huge investments by China in the region,” Rawat said while delivering the keynote address of the first Ravi Kant Singh Memorial Lecture.

General Rawat said that Bangladesh and Myanmar have been the largest recipients of Chinese military aid in the recent past along with significant investments in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Maldives to gain strategic foothold.

“China’s foray into Bangladesh and Myanmar is not in India’s national interest and these are pearls in the string of pearls that is attempting to engulf India. There exists omnipresent danger of regional strategic instability, threatening India’s territorial integrity and strategic cohesion,” said Rawat.

The CDS also mentioned that Pakistan’s continued sponsoring of cross-border terrorism against India are a “major stumbling block to our peace process” and called out China for its partnership with the western neighbour.

“China’s partnership with Pakistan through provision of military hardware, supporting Pakistan at various forums in the geo-political arena and the insensitivity towards India’s territorial claims while pursuing the China-Pakistan economic corridor or CPC through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir can be best described as an anti-India nexus,” he said.

Rawat also said that the uncertainty of the Taliban leadership in Afghanistan has plummeted the nation into political instability and turmoil making it a playground for future great Asian power rivalry.

Later, while addressing reporters, the CDS blamed Pakistan of indulging in a proxy war with India, adding the neighbouring country would do anything to “disturb peace and tranquillity in Jammu & Kashmir”.

“The adversary will always try and do something. But if we start falling into the trap of the adversary, it will not be good for us. We should not fall prey to their propaganda and we should be shunning these activities,” said Rawat.

He said China was using money power and economics to gain popularity in India’s neighbourhood, but “we have to continue with mission SAGAR (Security and Growth for All) and assure neighbours that we are their permanent friends and we want to engage with them on equal terms”.

“We need to be able to convince them that we will be your friends in the long term. In the short term, they may get monetary advantage from China. But at what cost?” questioned Rawat.

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Sunday, November 28, 2021