India’s army chief said this week that the country should be prepared for a potential two-front war with China flexing its muscles and with little hope for reconciliation with long-time rival Pakistan.
Gen. Bipin Rawat referred to a recent 10-week standoff with the Chinese army in the Himalayas that ended last week. He said the situation could gradually snowball into a larger conflict on India’s northern border.
Rawat said Pakistan on the western front could take advantage of such a situation.
The Press Trust of India news agency quoted Rawat’s remarks at a seminar organized by the Center for Land Warfare Studies, a New Delhi-
based think tank.
India fought a war with China in 1962 and three wars with Pakistan, two of them over control of Kashmir, since the two countries won independence from Britain in 1947. All three countries are nuclear powers.
Rawat said that credible deterrence did not take away the threat of a war.
“Nuclear weapons are weapons of deterrence. Yes, they are. But to say that they can deter war or they will not allow nations to go to war, in our context that may also not be true,” PTI quoted him as saying.
India last week agreed to pull back troops from the disputed Doklam Plateau high in the Himalayas, where Chinese troops had started constructing a road. The 10-week standoff was the two nations’ most protracted in decades, and added to their longstanding strategic rivalry.
“We have to be prepared. In our context, therefore, warfare lies within the realm of reality,” Rawat said.
His comments came a day after India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed on a “forward-looking” approach to Sino-India ties, putting behind the Doklam standoff.
Xi and Modi met on the sidelines of a summit of the BRICS emerging economies in the southeastern Chinese port city of Xiamen. The BRICS nations are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. AP