New Delhi: India had anticipated the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan but the speed at which it happened was a surprise, Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat said Wednesday, giving the first official insight into how the government viewed the Afghan situation unravelling.
The CDS said that India was concerned about the possible overflow of terror activities from Afghanistan, adding that contingency plans have been made.
Gen. Rawat, who was speaking at a seminar organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), also spoke about the expanding Chinese naval and nuclear power but said India had the capability to take on the northern neighbour and Pakistan in conventional warfare.
“Everything that has happened is something that was anticipated. Only the timelines have changed. From the Indian perspective, we were anticipating the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan…,” he said “Yes, the time lines have certainly surprised us. We were anticipating this thing happening a couple of months down the pipeline.”
Explaining how he looks at the Taliban, the CDS said, “It is pretty much the same. It is the same Taliban that was there 20 years ago. News reports and expats who have come from there are telling us the kind of activity that the Taliban is into. All that happened now is that partners have changed”.
He also noted that India was concerned that “terrorist activities from Afghanistan could overflow into India”.
“To that extent our contingency planning was ongoing and we were prepared for it,” he said.
ThePrint had earlier reported that security agencies are worried that the pullout by the western forces and consolidation of power by the Taliban would eventually result in increased terrorist violence in Kashmir.
India has nuclear triad
Asked about reports of China developing new silos for its nuclear weapons, Gen. Rawat said that these are strategic weapons and weapons of deterrence.
“They are not meant for engaging nations in combat. If a nation is developing bigger arsenals, developing a new strategy for improving their strategic deterrence, it is basically to ensure that you cannot overtake that nation in a jiffy. It is only to enhance their strategic deterrence capability,” he said.
He added that India was concerned about what is happening anywhere in the region.
Gen. Rawat pointed out that both Pakistan and China were nuclear powers.
“It is not only our northern neighbour, the western neighbour also has nuclear weapons. We are surrounded by two neighbours who are armed with strategic weapons,” he said “Therefore, we are evolving our strategy accordingly. Studying this intent of our neighbours, we have gone in for a triad. We are also evolving and developing our capability accordingly. We are studying this very carefully.”
Gen. Rawat added that India was conventionally very strong.
“We are quite capable of dealing with our neighbours conventionally. We are confident of dealing with both adversaries in the conventional domain,” he said.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)