General Manoj Pande, the Chief of Army Staff, stated that transgressions could potentially lead to escalations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. He also reassured that India has adequate reserves and is prepared to handle any situation.
According to reports, during a recent event, he highlighted that China aims to replace the United States as a global net security provider and pointed out Beijing’s involvement in recent peace talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as proposing a peace plan to end the 13-month-long Russia-Ukraine conflict.
The Army chief noted that China has developed significant capabilities in terms of force mobilisation, application, and sustainability of military operations. He emphasised that the long-standing boundary issue cannot be separated from the bilateral relations between the two Asian giants.
General Pande expressed his concerns about Chinese attempts to carry out transgressions across the Line of Actual Control (LAC), which violates past agreements and protocols. However, he reassured that the Indian Army’s preparedness is of a high order, even in light of the ongoing border standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 2020.
The Army chief made these remarks while speaking at the 2nd Strategic Dialogue on ‘Rise of China and its Implications for the World’, organized by the Savitribai Phule Pune University and the New Delhi-based Centre for China Analysis and Strategy.
General Pande emphasised that the unsettled and disputed borders continue to pose the most significant challenge in the operational environment. He also highlighted that pockets of dispute and contested claims to the territory exist due to differing perceptions of the alignment of the Line of Actual Control, making transgressions the potential trigger for escalations. Therefore, close monitoring of Sino-Indian border management is crucial as any infirmities can lead to a wider conflict, he cautioned.
“As we all knew we have agreements/protocols — (signed in) 1993, 1996, 2005, and 2013 — in the military domain to maintain peace and tranquillity on the LAC. Of concerns remain the violations of these by China — with their attempt to carry out — transgressions across the LAC,” he said.
He emphasised that the decades-old boundary issue between India and China cannot be separated from bilateral relations. He quoted External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who stated that the ties between the two countries must be based on mutual sensitivity, respect, and interest for them to return to a positive trajectory and remain sustainable. New Delhi has repeatedly maintained that peace in the border areas is essential for normalizing ties with Beijing.
The Army chief mentioned that there are engagement mechanisms at political, diplomatic, and military levels between India and China, which are optimally utilized to ensure stability along the LAC.
He stated that China has developed significant capabilities in terms of force mobilization, application, and sustainability of military operations. It has constructed infrastructure of military significance, such as roads, airfields, and helipads. He added that the Indian Army’s strategic orientation and long-term capability development have been focused on the northern border, and the required rebalancing of the forces has been carried out to achieve the desired response.