India is standing firm at its northern border with China, said Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, on Saturday, adding the country will lose no part of its sovereign territory without a fight.
In an exclusive interview with CNN-News18, General Rawat said, “the Indian armed forces have been given the tasks to ensure the sanctity of our borders are maintained and no part of our territory is lost without a fight. The Service Chiefs and I have said that we need to be prepared and any misadventure from our adversaries will be dealt with firmly.”
The remark comes a day after Chief of Army Staff Gen M M Naravane, commenting on the Chinese military conducting a drill in its training areas near the Ladakh region, said India is keeping a constant eye on the activities.
Noting that the three services are entrusted to carry tasks, utilise resources in a coordinated manner and give updates for any other support needed from the government, he said, “whether China has attempted any misadventure or not only time will tell. But, as of now, we are standing firm on the ground and we are not likely to relent under pressure.”
Amid strained relationship between India and China following a deadly clash in the Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh in June last year, both sides have completed the withdrawal of troops and weapons from Pangong lake’s North and South banks in February following a series of military and diplomatic talks. The two sides are now engaged in talks to extend the disengagement process to the remaining friction points.
The talks have remained at a stalemate as the Chinese forces did not show flexibility in their approach on disengagement of troops in the remaining friction at the 11th round of military talks with the Indian Army on April 9.
Commenting on the talks, the CDS said boundary settlement are complex issues. “We all understand the complexity we face at our borders with China and Pakistan. These cannot be resolved overnight and it is impossible to predict how long this would take. All I can say is that all effort is being made to resolve the issues on mutually acceptable terms. No country would want to lose tactical advantages when we settle our borders. Border settlement will take place based on the way the government wants it. We also have to look at how adversaries want the border settlement. We can not afford to lose any ground, so we are maintaining what is there now.”
Reacting to the report by Chinese state media on the PLA updating its equipment deployed along the Indian borders, including employing the latest type 15 lightweight tanks, powerful PCL-181 155-millimetre self-propelled howitzer and drones modified for high-plateau conditions, General Rawat said India has heavy weight tanks and advantageous terrain on its side.
Citing Chief of Army Staff Gen M M Naravane statement on the Indian military responding in equal measure to the Chinese, the CDS said, “we have got T-90 tanks which is an excellent and heavyweight tank capable of taking on any light tank in the world. We have also got other weapon systems.”
Partially admitting to China having access to better technology, Rawat said, “While China might have better technology, we have better resolute and will of our armed forces. We also have a terrain advantage on our side. In the Himalayan range, our soldiers are sitting on the dominating heights.”
Calling for a holistic view of advantages on the Indian side, General Rawat said, “we have the upper hand against China due to the altitude at which our air force operates.”
However, he warned against China’s non-contact warfare capacities. “We should not get too much concerned about equipment that they are getting, but need to look at the technological advancements that the Chinese are carrying out particularly in the field of non-contact warfare, cyber, space and artificial intelligence. These are the aspects we need to focus on. We have to now look at incorporating technology into warfare and is currently being looked at.”