Months after the Doklam standoff, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat today said the “bonhomie” between India and China has returned, just like previous days. “I think the bonhomie (between India and China) has returned to what was prior to Doklam, so I don’t visualize a very serious trouble,” the Army chief said during the Raisina Dialogue even in Delhi. Gen Rawat, however, cautioned that India should always be prepared for any such standoff. “But then one has to be prepared for it always,” the Army chief said at the event.
According to Gen Rawat, the “mechanisms” for defusing tensions between India and China are working “very well”. He said, “…mechanisms that we have of defusing tensions between our two countries are working very well and after Doklam we have started our Border Personnel Meeting. We are meeting regularly, exchanges are taking place, communication between commanders at ground level is on.”
Gen Rawat said that the PLA troops have returned but, in case, they decide to return, Indian soldiers will be there to face them. “While troops (PLA) may have returned and infrastructure remains, it is anybody’s guess whether they would come back there or is it because of the winters that they could not take their equipment, but we are also there, so in case they come, we will face them.”
“As far as Doklam is concerned PLA soldiers are there in a part of the area, although not in numbers that we saw them in initially. They have carried out some infrastructure development which is mostly temporary in nature,” he added.
Even as the Indian Army chief has doused doubts over the reoccurrence of Doklam like event, Chinese media appears not happy with Gen Rawat. In an editorial today, Chinese state media accused the Indian Army of being “hawkish”. “The Indian army seems to have failed to learn its lesson from the Doklam standoff. If India continues making provocations, it should expect harsh punishment from the Chinese army. Confronting China entails an unbearably high strategic cost for India,” the editorial said, adding, “New Delhi should cherish the amicable policy adopted by Beijing.”
On Monday, General Rawat had said that Indian Army would not let anti-India activities succeed at an cost in Jammu and Kashmir. He also warned of stronger action against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. PTI had quoted the Army chief as saying that the disputes along the Line of Actual Control in northern border with China were continuing and transgressions were taking place and “We are working to stop them”.
“Pakistan Army has been continuously trying to help terrorists sneak into India along LoC (Line of Control) in J&K. We are using our might to teach them a lesson,” he said, adding, “If we are forced, then we may resort to ‘other action’ by stepping up military offensive.”