Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday said his force is prepared for a two-front war involving Pakistan and China simultaneously but emphasised on the need to look at cooperation and not confrontation with Beijing.
His remarks came days after Beijing raised eyebrows over India testing 5000 km-range Agni 5 missile which has entire China within its reach. “As far as armed forces are concerned, we are tasked to be prepared for a two-front war and I think we are capable of carrying out our task in whatever manner that we may be asked to do by the political hierarchy,” Gen Rawat told NewsX channel. General Rawat said as far as the northern border is concerned, army has adopted certain mechanism to ensure that a harmonious relationship is maintained along the Line of Actual Control.
He said that today four border personnel meetings took place at the LAC. “This is to ensure that while we may be competing with each other for space, economic development, prosperity, there are also areas of cooperation. And I think that should be our focus area. Rather than looking at confrontation, we need to look at cooperation with China,” he said. Just before his retirement last month, Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, who was also the Chairman, Chief of Staff Committee, had said India was only building its deterrent capability.
Referring to large-scale modernisation activities along the borders with China, purchase of Rafale fighter aircraft, new vessels and submarines, Raha had said India is “obviously building up” capability not to actually fight a conflict as it believes in peace and tranquillity. In a candid admission in March last year, Raha had said that given the IAF’s depleting strength, it does not have the adequate numbers to “fully execute” an air campaign in case of a two-front war involving Pakistan and China simultaneously.