New Delhi: Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat has warned Pakistan against trying to take advantage of the ongoing crisis at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, saying India is prepared to respond to any “misadventure”.
He also backed the ‘Quad’, a grouping of India, the US, Australia and Japan, as a “good mechanism” to ensure freedom of navigation in the Indian Ocean-Pacific region — a statement that could rile up China.
ThePrint had reported earlier that amid ongoing tensions at the LAC, the Indian military was putting in place measures to deal with a collusive threat of China and Pakistan, and Rawat acknowledged it as a “combined challenge” on two fronts.
“If any threat develops around our northern borders, Pakistan could take advantage of that and create some trouble for us. Therefore, we have taken adequate precautions to ensure that any such misadventure by Pakistan is thwarted and they are not able to succeed in their mission. In fact, they may suffer heavy losses should they attempt any misadventure,” Rawat said, addressing a webinar organised by an American think-tank.
Gen. Rawat also said that though China has shown aggressive actions at the LAC of late despite border management protocols, India is “capable of dealing with this in all possible ways”.
The CDS added that Chinese economic cooperation in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, coupled with diplomatic support, mandated a high level of preparation by India.
“Infrastructure development in Tibet, development of strategic railway lines and military reforms by China are being studied by us,” he said.
Talking about the Quad, Gen. Rawat said India feels the grouping “is a good arrangement to ensure that there is complete freedom of navigation”.
“We want the Quad to become a mechanism to ensure this,” he said.
US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun had said Monday that Washington was aiming to “formalise” growing strategic ties with India, Japan and Australia in the Quad.
Experts have said the grouping is implicitly designed to counter China in the Indo-Pacific region.
China has often objected to the Quad, with an editorial in state-run Global Times saying: “For influential regional powers, the best foreign policy is to pursue independence. Blindly following a super power and turning themselves into its accomplices and pawns will only jeopardise their own national interests.”
Meanwhile, Gen. Rawat said India was seeking cooperation from the US to collaborate in technology development, especially in aerospace and Artificial Intelligence.
“With the 74 per cent FDI rule, there is a lot of scope for investments in India. We are looking at info-sharing and continued supply of high tech battlefield systems from the US,” he said.
He also said the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for geospatial cooperation between India and the US could be finalised soon.