'This is not 1962': Eastern Army Commander says China must realise 'India is no pushover'

Kolkata, PTI | Updated : 27 August 2019, 11:29 PM

Army vice-chief designate Lt Gen M M Naravane said on Tuesday that if China transgressed the "grey zone" at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) 100 times, the Indian Army did so on 200 occasions, as he claimed Beijingacted like a "regional bully" during the Doklam stand-off.

Naravane, currently the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, said China must realise that the Indian Army is not what it was at the time of the Sino-Indian war in 1962.

"The Doklam standoff gave a clear signal that the Indian Armed forces are no pushovers," he said during aninteraction on 'Defending our Borders' at the Bharat Chamberof Commerce.

Asked by former Air Chief Air Marshal Arup Raha, whois a member of the chamber's defence sub-committee, about thelessons from the 1962 conflict and measures taken after thatto overcome the problems, Naravane said, "We are no longer theArmy of 1962. If China says don't forget history, we also haveto tell them the same thing."

Claiming that India has come a long way from 1962, he said it was China which was caught unprepared during the 2017 Doklam standoff.

"They thought that they would get away by being aregional bully.. but we stood up to the bully," he said, asserting the Indian defence forces are capable of taking on any adversary.

He said there have been reports suggesting "some developments" at Doklam after the stand-off.

"That (the reports) is also not totally incorrect.There have been developments on either side....which have been throughout the year, year on year. They have made two newbarracks, we have also made two new barracks. They have maintained their roads, we have also maintained our roads."

Replying to a question by Raha that transgressions atthe LAC by China have increased, Naravane said, "If we say that the (China) is coming into the grey zone 100 times, then wehave gone in the grey zone 200 times. So, let us not think itis one-way. I am sure in their war room they are alsocomplaining that we have done this so many times."

The officer said that despite the transgressions, thearmies of the two countries have mutually agreed not to raiseeach other's hackles as long as the red line is not breached.

Speaking about the 1962 war, the Eastern Army Commander said it was not a military but a political debaclefor India as all army units fought well.

"Where they (Indian Army units) were told to stand and fight, they acquitted themselves with great honour. So, I do not see 1962 as a black mark on the Army at all and the armed forces... but we have learnt our lessons on what went wrong. And over the years we have been trying to bridge that capability gap. It is not easy to overcome these gaps in a short time frame, we have budgetary constraints," he said.

When asked about an article published in a Chinese newspaper that the country would have to fight six wars by 2050, including one against India over Arunachal Pradesh, which it claims as its own territory, Naravane said, "It is quite a tall task they have set for themselves."

He, however, said by 2049, the 100th year of the Communist Party of China, Beijing would "definitely want to achieve something".

Naravane said China may try to achieve the goalsmentioned in the article published by a semi-official thinktank not through war but by "indirect means".

By indirect means, Naravane said, he meant that Chinacould try to get the people of places it has set its sights onto claim they wanted to become part of that country.

The article said China is sure to fight six wars to reclaim what it believes are its territories it lost since Imperial China was defeated by the British in the Opium War of 1840-42. 

First Published: Tuesday, August 27, 2019 11:29 PM

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