Indian forces are prepared for a “two-front war involving Pakistan and China simultaneously”, said newly-inducted Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. In an interview to TV channel NewsX, he said India should look for cooperation with China and not confrontation.

“We are tasked to be prepared for a two-front war, and I think we are capable of carrying out our task in whatever manner we may be asked to do by the political hierarchy,” General Rawat told NewsX. He took over as the Indian Army chief on December 31.

Rawat further said that the Army has been trying to maintain harmonious relations at the Line of Actual Control with China, and hence, border personnel meetings were being held there. “This is to ensure that while we may be competing with each other for space, economic development and prosperity, there are also areas of cooperation,” he said.

After the nuclear-capable Agni-V missile was test-launched off the Odisha coast on December 26, China had said, “The UN Security Council has explicit regulations on whether India can develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry also added that the two countries were not “rivals for competition but partners”.

However, in March 2016, former Indian Air Force head Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha had said that the IAF was not ready to execute an air campaign involving a two-front war. “The probability of a two-front scenario is an appreciation which you need to do. But are the numbers adequate? No. The squadrons are winding down,” he had said.