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China is powerful, but India is not a weak nation either, says Army Chief General Bipin Rawat

He said Beijing ‘was exerting pressure’ but the troops would be able to handle any security situation at the borders.

The Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat on Friday spoke about the security concerns posed by China, admitting that the Chinese People’s Liberation Army “was exerting pressure” on the Indian troops. Rawat said the troops “were ready to cater” to any situation should the need arise.

“Yes we should try that it [the tension with China] is not escalated,” Rawat told reporters in New Delhi ahead of Army Day on January 15. “We will not allow our territory to be intruded. We cannot allow our neighbours to drift away to China,” PTI quoted him as saying.

The Army chief called for a multi-pronged approach, including diplomatic, military and partnerships with other countries in the region, to deal with Beijing. China is a powerful country, the Army chief admitted, but added that India is not a weak nation either.

Rawat said China had been constructing roads in north Doklam for years, but in June 2017 they came with large amount of equipment and soldiers. Indian troops were forced to intervene on behalf of Bhutan, which led to a 74-day military standoff in the Sikkim sector.

“Our impression was that they looked like changing the status quo,” Rawat said, according to The Hindu. “With China, we have an agreement to not change status quo.”

However, Rawat admitted that the Chinese troop strength in Doklam had gone down recently.

He said the Army, having focused its operations in South Kashmir in 2017, would now shift its attention to areas in North Kashmir such as Baramulla, Pattan, Handwara, Kupwara, Sopire and Lolab. The military would also concentrate on thwarting infiltration attempts in the some northern areas of Bandipore district, he added.

The chief of Army staff refused to comment on the impact of the United States’ decision to suspend military aid to Pakistan, saying that “we will have to wait and see”.

The Army chief said that the forces need to update weapons and technology from time to time. “We have to look at what we require to fight the future wars,” he said. “We have to get systems that are best suited for our requirements.”

Speaking about cyber security, he said that the Army was concerned about cyber and information warfare and stressed on the need for the security establishment to have good firewalls and systems in place.

Rawat said that the Army was focusing on bolstering its capacity to move ammunition from one sector to another. “We also need to build capacity to move forces from western sector to northern sectors,” he added.

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