Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Friday said the situation astride the India-China border in Ladakh continued to remain tense, five months after their deadliest military confrontation in decades, PTI reported. Rawat admitted that the possibility of confrontations and unprovoked military actions spiralling into a larger conflict “cannot be discounted”.

Nonetheless, India’s posturing is “unambiguous”, the military official said. “We will not accept any shift in Line of Actual Control. China’s People’s Liberation Army is facing unanticipated consequences for its misadventure in Ladakh because of firm responses by Indian forces.”

Rawat made the statements at the Diamond Jubilee Webinar 2020, organised by National Defence College, according to ANI.

On August 24, Rawat had made similar assertions and said that the military option is on the table if talks between New Delhi and Beijing to de-escalate the tension along the border fail. “Defence services always remain prepared for military actions should all efforts to restore status quo along the LAC do not succeed,” he had said.

The standoff along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh is in a stalemate since May, when Chinese troops moved to take control of the territory that had been patrolled by Indian soldiers for decades. The initial scuffles led up to a pitched battle – without firearms – in June that saw 20 Indian soldiers killed, with Beijing refusing to release casualty numbers on its side.

Both India and China have accused each other of crossing into rival territory and of firing shots for the first time in 45 years.

The sides have held several rounds of talks by military, diplomatic and political officials, including negotiations between their foreign ministers and defense ministers in Moscow last month. But the standoff has persisted, although no new military aggression has been reported for over a month now.

On Pakistan

In his address, Rawat also criticised Pakistan and alleged that the “unabated proxy war in Jammu and Kashmir” unleashed by the neighbouring country, accompanied by its “vicious anti-India rhetoric” have taken the bilateral ties to a new low.

The chief of defence staff asserted New Delhi’s military prowess over Islamabad and said the surgical strikes and the Balakot airstrikes conducted by the Indian Air Force have sent “a strong message” that Pakistan no longer enjoys impunity of “pushing terrorists into India under a nuclear bogey”.

“The new Indian template to deal with terror has injected uncertainty in Pakistan,” Rawat added.

He also lauded India’s military preparedness and said that in the coming years, the defence industry would grow exponentially, and deliver “state-of-art weapons and equipment fully made in India”, ANI reported.

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“As India grows in stature, security challenges will rise proportionately,” Rawat added. “We must move out of the constant threat of sanctions or dependency on individual nations for our military requirements and invest in building long-term indigenous capability for strategic independence & application of decisive military power to squarely meet present and emerging challenges.”