Expect more situations like Doklam: Army Chief Bipin Rawat
Speaking to students at the Savitribai Phule Pune University, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat stated that Doklam stand-off is a result of China attempting to change status quo. He was delivering a lecture on "India's challenges in the current geo-strategic construct". "Such instances are likely to increase in future... My message to the troops is to not let down the guard," he added.
Context: Doklam standoff
Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in a standoff along the LAC in the Doklam region, near the Sikkim border. Both have accused each other of transgressing into the other's territory and have mobilized troops in mass numbers.
On differing perceptions
According to General Rawat, India has tried to steer discussions towards restoring pre-Doklam standoff position at flag meetings; this has been impossible due to differing perceptions. "The LAC has not been settled....clashes occur at time as each one tries to patrol the area. But these things are normal. Our aim is not to escalate the crisis," he said while speaking to the reporters.
China's increasing capabilities and influence
According to General Rawat, China's armed forces have significantly improved upon their capabilities relating to force mobilization, ability to sustain operations and application. He further added that China is expanding its influence in the region through forging economic and defence partnerships with countries including Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Pakistan. "The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor passing through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir challenges India's sovereignty," he further added.
General Rawat expressed concerns on terrorist groups in Pakistan; according to him Pakistan's unrelenting support for these groups can lead to 'Pakistan becoming a conduit for the eastward spread of fundamentalist ideology'.