‘Threat from northern borders rising,’ Ex-Army chief slams China military

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‘Threat from northern borders rising,’ Ex-Army chief slams China military
‘Threat from northern borders rising,’ Ex-Army chief slams China military

New Delhi: Former chief of Indian Army General MM Naravane (retired), following the recent clash in Arunachal Pradesh, has hit out at the Chinese Army for descending to the level of “prehistoric times” by using “clubs and barbed wires” in the scuffle and said that the Indian Army in warfare would rather open fire than resort to such ridiculous tactics.

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The former Army chief also said that based on assessments, the Indian Army felt that threat from India’s northern borders is increasing but with situational analysis and inputs the Indian Army keeps evaluating threats and takes remedial measures.

In a podcast with Smita Prakash, Editor-in-Chief of ANI, Gen Naravane pointed out how the Chinese troops have been indulging in mobbing incidents but that India as a country showed to the world that it is possible to take on the “neighbourhood bullying”.

“That is how an army fights by using the weapons at your disposal and not getting into fisticuffs. Are we hooligans or mafia? We are professional. Is that the level PLA has gone down to? Hooliganism and streetfighting? Or they are a professional 21st-century army? On one side they try to show their technological prowess, on the other side they are coming with barbed wire clubs. It is ridiculous,” the former Army Chief said.

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The former Army chief also said that based on assessments, the Indian Army felt that threat from India’s northern borders is increasing vis-a-vis the western border however, the Indian Army after situational analysis and inputs has plans of rebalancing troops where some personnel could go from the western front to the eastern front and vice versa.

“Based on those threats, what remedial measures or countermeasures we should take? And it is in that light that we felt the threat from our northern borders is increasing vis-a-vis that is of the western border. Therefore, we need to rebalance some forces. We have always had plans in place where some troops could go from the western front to the eastern front or vice versa,” Gen Naravane said.

“It is a question of where they should be initially deployed. They should be initially deployed more to the west and go to the east or north as a contingency or they should be on other adversity first and go to the west as a contingency. That is what rebalancing is. Rather than being more west-oriented, they become now more north-oriented. That does not mean they cannot come back to the west. There is a continuous threat. We keep on evaluating. In case something changes on the western front we revert to as it was earlier,” the ex-Indian Army chief said.

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During the podcast interview, Gen Naravane also referred to India’s retaliation to the Chinese aggression in May 2020.

“Not only the PLA itself, it diminished the stature of China as a country in the global eyes. After this clash, we showed that it is possible to stand up to China who tries to bully its smaller neighbours.”

The Army chief said that Indian soldiers countered them in the same manner in which they were being targeted by the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) troops.

“Although we did not fire, we also resorted in a similar vein. It was always a question of who will open fire first. Since we felt that we had the measure of the PLA troops over there, we also countered them in the same way that they were taking action against us which was basically by the use of non-lethal, that is not actually firing, although casualties did occur. They were carrying sticks and we were also carrying sticks,” Gen Naravane recalled.

The former Army chief noted that one should never underestimate the adversary.

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“We should not discount any opposition. If you underestimate your opposition and try to play them down, you are likely to get surprised. We should always look at them as a professional army. At the unit level, they will also try their best to win. As an Army, you know that you have the backing of the country, and government, the will of the people and so on. And that is where we are at a great advantage,” Gen Naravane said.

Emphasizing that India is aware of all the developments happening across the world, General Naravane said that the Indian Armed Forces are always ready to face whatever is thrown at the country.

“As a country and as an army, we are always prepared for war…it is not that we are not prepared at any point in time. Appreciation of likely threats is a continuous process. Intelligence inputs are always there of who is mobilizing and how it is mobilizing. The kind of mobilization that has happened on the Chinese side is not indicative of war. Mobilization for the small mobbing actions here and there.”

His remarks came days after the Chinese army attempted to change the status quo on the Line of Actual Control in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 through a faceoff with the Indian troops, in which they were pushed back by the Indian Army without suffering any casualties.

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Gen Naravane underlined the importance of indigenous weapons while lauding the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in the defence sector. India should make the bulk of its weapons within the country to “extent possible,” the ex-Army chief said.

“Make in India, Aatmanirbhar Bharat initiative is a very good thing that has been done. So we reduce our weapons imports to the extent possible. Why I say to the extent possible is because no country makes 100 per cent of the things themselves,” General Naravane said.

“Russia is making helicopters, 30-40 per cent of the components come from abroad. We realised that we cannot be dependent on external supply chains. We can have a portion of it external. The bulk of it should be within our country,” he added.

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