India cannot rule out the possibility of a two-front war with China and Pakistan despite having credible nuclear deterrence capabilities, said Army chief General Bipin Rawat.
Stating that differences with Pakistan seemed to be “irreconcilable”, with the country continuing to wage a proxy war against India, Gen Rawat said China too will continue with its efforts to nibble away Indian territory through “salami slicing” and other measures.
“As far as the northern adversary (China) is concerned, the flexing of muscles has started, Salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits of threshold is something we have to be wary about and remain prepared for situations that could develop into conflicts,” said Gen Rawat.
The Army chief’s warning that India cannot let down its guard on either of the two fronts came at a seminar here, a week after the over 70-day Doklam standoff between India and China was finally diffused with mutual disengagement and withdrawal of troops after intensive diplomatic parleys.
The Indian defence establishment has repeatedly warned of a “collusive threat” from Pakistan and China, who often describe themselves as “all-weather friends”.
After the Doklam crisis, the assessment is that the People’s Liberation Army will not shy away from needling India with “transgressions”, military parlance for intrusions or shallow probes – all along the 4,057-km Line of Actual Control, especially in places like eastern Ladakh and eastern Arunachal Pradesh.
The Army chief, on his part, said Pakistan could well swing into action to take advantage of such situations when India is busy with problems on the China front,” said Gen Rawat.
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