Indian Army ready for two-front war with Pakistan,China: Gen Rawat
NEW DELHI: The newly-appointed Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat said on Monday that dynamics of terrorism is constantly changing, and that the army has to think ahead in that direction.
“The fact that terrorists infiltrating from adversary’s side means that they are getting support from them (Pakistani forces),” the army chief said in a conversation with Times Now. “We also have to think ahead, and ball has already been rolling in that direction,” he added.
Rawat, in another interview with news channel News X, said Indian Army is prepared for a two-front war involving Pakistan and China simultaneously but emphasised on the need to look at cooperation and not confrontation with Beijing.
“As far as armed forces are concerned, we are tasked to be prepared for a two-front war and I think we are capable of carrying out our task in whatever manner that we may be asked to do by the political hierarchy,” Gen Rawat told NewsX channel. “We want peace at borders because civilians lose the most,” he added.
Discussing the surgical strikes, the new army chief said it was a well-thought operation. He said on Monday four border personnel meetings took place at the LoC.
“This is to ensure that while we may be competing with each other for space, economic development, prosperity; there are also areas of cooperation. And I think that should be our focus area. Rather than looking at confrontation, we need to look at cooperation with China,” he said. Rawat gave interview to news channels India Today TV, Times Now, and News X.
Gen Bipin Rawat said while the country and the force want to maintain peace and tranquility at the border, it will not “shy away” from using its power in any form.
He also made it clear on Sunday that the Eastern Army Commander Lt-Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Commander Lt-Gen PM Hariz, whom he superseded, will continue to serve the army and help maintain its unity and power.
“Our country, our army wants peace and tranquility at the border. But it does not mean that we are weak. We are capable and powerful in all forms and if need be, we will not shy away from using our power in any form.
“Our aim is that peace is maintained at the border. But I will say it again that if need be, we will not hesitate in using our power,” Gen Rawat said after reviewing the guard of honour at the South Block in New Delhi.
India shares a 3,323-km border with Pakistan, including a 749-km Line of Control (LoC). The Indian Army has lost over 60 soldiers in held Kashmir in 2016. Gen Rawat also sent across a message to all ranks of the army, saying every soldier counted.
He had taken over as the 27th chief of the 1.3 million Indian Army succeeding Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who retired after 42 years of service. Gen Rawat said, “I would like to use the opportunity to convey to the rank and file in the army that everyone in the army, wherever or whoever he may be is equal in my eyes based on the tasks that they are required to perform”.
His comments comes at a time when there is a feeling among sections of the armoured corps that only the infantry, that Gen Rawat belongs to, has the upper hand and Lt-Gen Bakshi could not make it only because he was from the armoured corps.
Both Gen Rawat and his predecessor Gen Suhag, along with senior officers in key positions, are from the Gorkhas. Gen Rawat said he accepted the government’s decision to appoint him as the army chief with all humility.
“I respect the officers who have been superseded. They have worked with me shoulder-to-shoulder and I can say it for certain that they will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder to keep the unity and power of the army in the future also,” he added.