The newly appointed army chief of nuclear-armed India reportedly said the Indian military is ready to simultaneously fight a “two-front war” with Pakistan and China if necessary and will not hesitate to use any form of force.
Nevertheless, he stressed that confrontations with neighboring countries should be the last option, reported the International Business Times (IBTimes).
“The fact that terrorists infiltrating from adversary’s side means that they are getting support from them [Pakistani forces],” declared Indian Gen. Bipin Rawat in an interview with a local news channel, to the IBTimes. “We also have to think ahead, and the ball has already [started] rolling in that direction.”
“As far as the 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,” he added during a different interview.
Gen. Rawat, identified as a counterinsurgency specialist, took over as army chief at the beginning of 2017.
IBTimes quoted him as saying border personnel from India and China are holding meetings to maintain open channels of communication.
“This is to ensure that while we may be competing with each other for space, economic development and prosperity, there are also areas of cooperation,” noted Rawat.
India has reportedly seen tensions escalate with both China and Pakistan during the past few months.
In the Muslim-majority Himalayan region of Kashmir, a series of deadly clashes between India and Pakistan have taken place.
Meanwhile, China has increasingly been providing military and economic assistance to Pakistan.
According to the most recent annual report to Congress issued by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the primary purpose of Beijing’s assistance to Pakistan is to contain the rise of their mutual rival India.
The report points out:
China exploits the longstanding rivalry between India and Pakistan to ensure its own ambitions in South Asia are achieved. This strategy aims to keep India so preoccupied with its western neighbor that it will not have the ability to mount a serious challenge to China’s power and influence in Asia
China’s relationship with Pakistan has been defined by mutual animosity toward India since the early 1960s.
All three countries – India, China, and Pakistan – have competing claims to Kashmir.