India should prepare for a two-front war: General Bipin Rawat
Providing his take on India's persistent threat from China and Pakistan, Indian Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat stated that India should be prepared for a two-front war. Referring to the 73-day Doklam standoff, Rawat said that China has started "flexing its muscles." He was speaking at a seminar organized by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi. Here's more on his speech.
Speaking to students at the Savitribai Phule Pune University on August 27, General Rawat stated that the Doklam standoff was a result of China trying 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.
Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a tensed 75-day standoff in Doklam, an area situated at the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction. Both countries recently arrived at an understanding on mutual disengagement of troops from Doklam. Meeting on the sidelines of the recently concluded BRICS summit, PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping further charted a way forward for peaceful relations.
Rawat speculates that Doklam could snowball into something bigger. According to him, "these conflicts could be limited in space and time or can expand into an all out war along the entire frontier, with Pakistan taking advantage of the situation. "
In military terminology, salami-slicing refers to tactics used to break down a big power using methods of dividing and conquering. Rawat advised caution against China's intentions to use salami-slicing to gradually weaken India. He added that India should be prepared if the tactic spirals into war. He also mentioned that China had engaged in "psychological warfare" using its media during the Doklam standoff.
Rawat sees no hope for reconciliation as, "Pakistan's military, polity and people are made to believe that India is an enemy" and is out to "break their nation into pieces." He wondered how much longer India would continue to tolerate Islamabad's proxy war. Speaking on the possibility of an Indo-Pak war, he said that it was unpredictable and left the decision to political masters.
Stating that nuclear weapons do not guarantee protection against war, Rawat said that "war is very much in the realm of reality." Stressing on the Army's supreme role in handling external threats, he vouched for a greater budgetary allocation for the armed forces.