New Delhi: A week after India and China crossed the hump in Doklam, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has said that China is silently taking over territory and testing India’s threshold, and warned of a two-front war on the western and the northern borders.
“As far as the Northern adversary is concerned, flexing of muscles has started. Salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits or threshold, is something we have to be wary about. Remain prepared for situations that are emerging gradually into conflict,” he said about China.
‘‘Salami slicing” refers to a string of small, clandestine operations meant to achieve a larger goal that would be difficult to accomplish in one go. He further warned that a war with China could easily end up involving its long-term ally, Pakistan. “Whether these conflicts will be limited and confined in space and time, or whether these can expand into an all-out war along the entire front with the Western adversary (Pakis-tan) taking advantage of the situation developing on the Northern border, is very much likely.”
Speaking at the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS) on the Future Contours and Trends of Warfare, General Rawat said that no scope of reconciliation can be seen with the western adversary (Pakistan) because the military, the polity and the people of the region are made to believe that India is all out to dismember their nation into pieces.
The statement comes barely a week after India and China managed to disengage their border personnel at Doklam and ended one of their longest military face-offs. Incidentally, at the just concluded BRICS summit, Chinese President Xi told PM Modi that it is important for relations between the two countries to get on “the right track.” Xi also mentioned Jawahar Lal Nehru’s Panchsheel treaty, saying that China was prepared to work with India in keeping with the five principles of Panchsheel. Both leaders also agreed on the need to “do more” to prevent border aggression.
India, Japan arms embrace
In another development, India has decided to expand the ambit of its military engagement with Japan which has a rather tenuous equation with China. In a move that is likely to raise China’s hackles, India and Japan on Wednesday decided to step up defence ties. This will manifest in the two countries holding joint anti-terrorism exercises for the first time next year. Japan, which participated in the Malabar Naval Exercise with the US and India in the Bay of Bengal in July, wants to step up its level of engagement in these war games by sending across its state of the art P-1 anti-submarine warfare aircraft, the most sophisticated aircraft of its class presently operated by its navy, reports NDTV.