On Friday, Army General Chief Bipin Rawat said that China is a strong country, however, India is not a weak country either. While speaking at the annual media conference, the Army Chief that he believes in the possibility of the Chinese troops returning back to Doklam region after winter. He said that India needed to halt Chinese troops from making the road in Doklam or else the road construction could have allowed China to claim the whole Doklam plateau. The Army Chief also made a striking comment on India’s focus is on western borders “for too long”. He also said that “militarily, the focus has to shift to the northern borders” now.
In the recent past, the number of Chinese soldiers in the Doklam plateau have decreased. However, the Army Chief said there is a possibility that the troops could return back after the winter season ends. He also stated that India was ready for any happening during the faceoff with the Chinese side in Doklam last year. Gen Rawat also said efforts were done to ensure that no conflict takes place between the two sides. Gen Rawat said, “The soldier disengagement process at Doklam, last year, was made to ensure that the two armies are not face-to-face. Our troops returned to our side on the watershed and the Chinese troops moved by an equal distance.” He further added that the Chinese troops still have their shelters in north Doklam area. “There is thinning happening in the Doklam region; a large number of Chinese army men have gone, however, Chinese tents, observation posts, storage shelters and structures remain there,” he said.
He also did not let go of the fact that winter season might be the reason for the downscaling of soldiers from the Chinese side. “The de-escalation by the Chinese could be due to winter months. These temporary structures are there, (and) there is a possibility of Chinese movement after the winter. Should they (the Chinese) come in again, we will take a call on how to deal with it.” Gen Rawat said, “We understand China is a powerful country but we are not a weak nation.”
He also said that India’s focus “for too long has been on the western border” and said that “the focus has to shift to the northern borders.” Gen Rawat said, “Infrastructure needs to be stepped up and we should start preparing for the next kind of warfare, which are cyber and information warfare.”
Gen Rawat also stated that “terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir is not over.” He said that the Army will shift its focus to north Kashmir this year, after having focused on south Kashmir last year. This, he said, will lead to cutting off routes of infiltration used by militants after crossing the LoC, from where they move to south Kashmir.