Doklam Effect: Focus To Shift To China Border, Says General Bipin Rawat

Army Chief General Rawat also said that while Chinese troops have maintained their presence in Doklam, their numbers have thinned and the level of activity has gone down.

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Army chief Bipin Rawat inaugurated a workshop and exhibition of CBRN defence technologies at DRDO. (PTI)

New Delhi:  The focus of the Indian army will shift to the country's border with China in the north as opposed to the long-standing focus on the western border, Chief of Army staff General Bipin Rawat said on Friday. The country, he said, was capable of handling China's growing assertiveness in the region but also stressed on the need for modernisation of the armed forces.

"We need modern weapons and technology. We have to look at what we require to fight the future wars. We have to get systems that are best suited for our requirements" General Rawat said at an event in New Delhi. "The focus has to shift to the northern borders. We have focused too long on the western side," the army chief said.

"We felt they will try to claim the whole Doklam... It was also posing a threat to us as it was changing the status quo," he said, according to a report by news agency IANS. He further added that while Chinese troops have maintained their presence in Doklam, their numbers have thinned and the level of activity has gone down.

Addressing questions on the increase in border transgressions in recent month, General Rawat said that it was because India had deployed more troops in forward positions along the border. "We will not allow our territory to be invaded by anyone. Troops are earmarked and should a situation arise, our troops are ready to cater" he said in response to a question on Chinese incursions.  "China is a powerful country, but we are not a weak nation either," he said.

India cannot allow its neighbours to drift away to China, the army chief said, adding that countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have to be kept on board as part of a broader strategy to deal with China.

General Rawat also addressed the issue of terrorism emanating from Pakistan. "Terrorists are a disposable commodity in Pakistan and the Indian army approach has been to ensure that it feels the pain," he said. Referring to the US action against Pakistan, the army chief said that its impact is yet to be seen.

General Rawat said that the threat of an attack by Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear or CBRN weapons from 'non-state actors' is a becoming a reality. Speaking at the inauguration of a workshop and exhibition of CBRN defence technologies at the Defence Research and Development Organisation or DRDO headquarters, the army chief said, "Use of CBRN weapons could jeopardize life and property and take a long time to recover".

"Unlike conventional warfare, CBRN combat requires operating in a highly unpredictable environment, where functioning of man and machine in perfect harmony would be desirable," he said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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