China is attempting to “change the status quo” on its border with India and incidents like the ongoing stand-off in the Doklam area are likely to “increase” in future, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said today.
“The recent stand-off in the Doklam plateau by the Chinese side attempting to change the status quo are issues which we need to be wary about, and I think such kind of incidents are likely to increase in the future,” General Rawat said.
He added that “pockets of dispute” that continue to exist due to differing perceptions on the alignments of the Line of Actual Control or LAC. “Transgressions across Line of Actual Control do happen and sometimes they do lead to some kind of misunderstanding between the forward troops…however, we do have joint mechanisms in place to address such situations,” said General Rawat at an event organised by the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies of Savitribai Phule Pune University this evening.
He said that during the flag meetings with Chinese counterparts, the Indian Army keeps insisting that both sides should return to the pre-June 16 positions (before the stand-off began), but no resolution has been found yet. “Now it is happening at the diplomatic and political level, as it needs to be resolved diplomatically and through political initiatives,” he said.
Chinese armed forces have made significant progress in capabilities for mobilisation, application and sustenance of operations, particularly in the Tibet autonomous region of China, he noted. “This is due to the development of force infrastructure of military significance. Their force reorganisation along with developing capabilities in space and network-centric warfare is likely to provide them greater synergy in force application,” General Rawat said.
The Army Chief also warned that the troops in other sectors should not be complacent. “It is always better to be prepared and alert than think that this will not happen again. So my message to troops is that do not let your guard down,” he added.
China continues to enhance its influence in the region by increasing defence and economic partnerships in the neighbourhood, he said. “The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) challenges India’s sovereignty,” he stated.