A military leader in India has indicated that his country must prepare for a simultaneous war with China and Pakistan over a conflict concerning territory between the three.
Gen. Bipin Rawa warned that, following a ten-week standoff with the Chinese army in the Himalayas last week, current tensions could escalate towards a full-scale military conflict, with Pakistan also vying for territory.
“As far as the northern adversary (China) is concerned, the flexing of muscles has started. … Salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits of threshold … is something we have to be wary about and remain prepared for situations that could develop into conflicts,” said Gen Rawat. “We have to be prepared. In our context, therefore, warfare lies within the realm of reality,” he added.
Rawat also warned that credible deterrence did not remove the possibility of war.
“Nuclear weapons are weapons of deterrence. Yes, they are. But to say that they can deter war or they will not allow nations to go to war, in our context that may also not be true,” the news agency quoted him as saying.
The standoff eventually ended after India pulled troops out of the disputed Doklam plateau, following increasingly aggressive Chinese rhetoric that pledged to “annihilate” any military opposition.
Both countries eventually agreed on a policy of “expeditious disengagement” in the run-up to a summit of BRICS nations, making it the longest standoff between the two nations in decades.
India claims the dispute erupted after objecting to the Chinese construction of a road through the mountainous area and consequently sent its troops to secure the region, which China considers within its historical borders.
“China will continue to exercise sovereignty rights to protect territorial sovereignty in accordance with the rules of the historical boundary,” a spokesperson from the Chinese Foreign Ministry said recently.
On Tuesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, with the pair agreeing to promote a “forward-looking” approach to Sino-India ties.