"Chinese Have Finally Arrived": Army Chief's Take On Beijing's Strengths

General Bipin Rawat said China did not forget that military power should rise simultaneously with economy.

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Army chief General Bipin Rawat said the world is looking to India to counterbalance China.

New Delhi:  Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday lauded China's military might, saying they understood the importance of ratcheting up defence prowess alongside their economy. The world, he said, is looking at India to provide a counterbalance and added a criticism of what he called "a belief" regarding defence expenditure at home.

"The Chinese have finally arrived. I can say that," General Rawat declared at a function in Delhi. "They did not forget that military power should rise simultaneously with economy. That is why they stand strong today in international world order, challenging the might of USA."

In the current situation, India, he said, needs to focus on its military. "The world community is looking to us as a net security provider... to counterbalance the rise of China".

Indicating what might be a hindrance to that goal, General Rawat said there is a "belief" that defence expenditure is a burden on the state. "They believe that whatever is put in defence - it is something that comes without any returns. I want to dispel that myth".

The army has already said the defence allocation in this year's budget, Rs 21,338 crore, is inadequate. A senior army officer, Vice Chief Lt Gen Sarath Chand, has also told a parliamentary panel that a whopping 68 per cent of army equipment is vintage and its budget cannot cover the existing projects, let alone fund modernisation.

The army chief also said on Tuesday that military exercises with China will resume soon, marking an upswing in the relation between the two nations, which took a downturn last year following the 73-day stand-off at Doklam, which was resolved in August. Following the stand-off, the annual military exercise did not take place. "The relationship had turned sour, but I think it is all getting over now," General Rawat said.

The diplomatic engagement between the two nations has been back on track with the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to India to attend the Russia India China Foreign Ministers meeting. Next month, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj is expected to visit China.

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