China has “gained a lot over time” in its bid to change the status quo along the Line of Actual Control, former Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane has said, ANI reported on Thursday.

Naravane made the comment in an interview with the news agency held against the backdrop of clashes between Indian and Chinese troops in Arunachal Pradesh on December 9.

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that Chinese soldiers attempted to “unilaterally change the status quo” by transgressing the Line of Actual Control in the state’s Tawang sector. The development turned into a hand-to-hand clash as the Indian troops retaliated to thwart the Chinese aggression, Singh said.

The defence ministry has said that a few soldiers from both sides sustained “minor injuries” in the clash. This was the first such incident since the clash between Indian and Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June 2020.

In his interview with ANI, Naravane said that China has altered the status quo of the Line of Actual Control gradually over decades.


“...They have been doing this in very small incremental steps which by themselves do not look very dangerous,” the former army chief told ANI. “They look quite innocuous. What we call salami slicing, coming up one inch at a time. But in the bargain over a period of time they have gained a lot. This is the tactics they have adopted and were continuing to do.”

Naravane added that the Chinese troops come time and again at various points along the Line of Actual Control to make it seem as a “historical fact” that they have been patrolling those areas, ANI reported.

He also said that the casualties suffered by the Chinese Army in the Galwan clash was the first time they received a “jhatka” – a jolt. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the Galwan clash in East Ladakh. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four. Since the clash, India and China have been locked in a border standoff.