Two-front war with Pakistan and China cannot be ruled out: Indian army chief

Irshad Salim — China was flexing its muscles and would continue to incrementally take away territory from India, and differences between India and Pakistan could not be reconciled, said Indian Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat at a seminar in New Delhi.

Therefore, “War is very much in the realm of reality,” the Indian Army Chief added.

According to Gen Rawat, a two-front war with Pakistan and China cannot be ruled out, while dismissing the “myth that democracies or nuclear armed” neighbors do not go to war, India Today reported on Wednesday.

The Indian army chief spoke briefly about his country’s military strategy in case of future engagement of Indian troops with China.

According to the daily, Rawat reiterated that recurrence of situations such as the recent standoff between Indian and Chinese troops over the Doklam Plateau could not be ruled out.

He alleged that China was flexing its muscles and would continue to incrementally take away territory from India. India, thus, has to be prepared, he said.

The Indian army chief said that if Indian troops were engaged with China on the northern border of the country, there was a possibility Pakistan would try to “take advantage of the situation”.

“War is very much in the realm of reality,” the Indian army chief was quoted as saying. “We have to be prepared for conflict on the northern and western borders.”

Indian and Chinese troops last week ended their 2-months long border standoff on a section of land high in the Himalayas near what is known as the tri-junction, aka the “chicken’s neck” where Tibet, India, and Bhutan meet.

On June 27, China had accused Indian border guards of crossing into its territory from the state of Sikkim on India’s northeastern border with Tibet, complicating an already difficult relationship.

Rawat said that ruling out the possibility of future (two-front) war will prevent the country from preparing for such a situation in regards to budgetary allocation and modernization of forces.

“Militaries alone do not go to war, nations go to war [and] we have to prepare ourselves accordingly,” the paper quoted the army chief as saying.

Relations between India and Pakistan which remain tense have been defined by the violent partition of British India in 1947, the Kashmir conflict and the numerous military conflicts fought between the two nations. Consequently, their relationship has been plagued by hostility and suspicion. Pakistan, a smaller but nuclear-armed nation, views India– its eastern neighbor, as an existential threat.

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