India’s Army Chief Rules Out 1962 Repeat
New Delhi: There can be no repeat of 1962, when China defeated India in war, army chief General Bikram Singh said Wednesday.
At a media interaction here, Gen Singh said India had adequate military plans for its borders to counter any misadventure by any force.
“Nahi hoga! (It will not happen),” he said when asked if a repeat of 1962 was possible.
“I am assuring the nation that 1962 will not be repeated,” Gen. Singh said.
He said his mandate was “to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country”.
“That’s the assurance I am giving. We will not let any enemy enter our territory. Plans are afoot on all borders,” he said.
He said necessary defences and military infrastructure along the northern borders of India were coming up.
“Our frontiers are being guarded well,” he said, pointing out that roads, bridges and other structures were coming up as part of military capacities in the northern borders.
“Our preparations are going on adequately,” he said.
“The capacity of our forces are built not keeping any specific country in mind. We are doing it for building our defences keeping our own national security,” he said.
He was referring to the Indian Army’s plans to have a mountain strike corps, an offensive formation for mountain warfare, in the northeast.
The mountain strike corps is meant to counter the Chinese forces across the Line of Actual Control (LAC) that divides Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet.
Asked about the government returning a file containing the strike corps proposal, Gen Singh said the plans were presently going through “a process of validation” and the plans have not been shelved.
“We will get back to the government to the observations made,” he said. “These are proposals keeping in mind the national security.”
Asked about Chinese forces venturing into Indian territory, the army chief said the military teams from both sides patrol up to their nation’s perception of the LAC.
“In such cases, these issues are taken up at the appropriate level through the existing mechanism. These issues are taken care of.”
When the troops on either side come face-to-face, they carry out a banner drill and return to their territory. “The patrol teams disengage and go back.”
On July 29 Indian soldiers and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) had a stand-off with a Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) patrol at Chumar sector in eastern Ladakh when the banner drill was carried out.
On PLA’s presence in Pakistani Kashmir, Gen Singh said: “We have been informed that Chinese soldiers are there to protect their ongoing projects related to railways, road and hydro-electric projects.
“We have conveyed this to the government,” he added.
Gen. Bikram Singh also believes that it’s not time to negotiate demilitarization of Siachen as India had “lost lot of lives” and “shed a lot of blood” to command the icy heights and favoured holding on to the 70-km-long glacier in northern Jammu and Kashmir.
Gen. Singh also noted that Siachen glacier, the world’s highest battlefield, is of “strategic importance” to India and that the Indian Army’s position on withdrawal of troops from one of the most uninhabitable spots on earth remained unchanged.
“We have lost a lot of lives over there. We have shed a lot of blood in trying to get to that area and occupy our positions. These positions are of strategic importance to us,” he told reporters during an interaction here.
“It has not changed at all,” he said when asked about the Indian Army’s position on Siachen and the demilitarisation proposed by Pakistan.
“It is very important…we must continue to hold that area and that’s what we have maintained always,” he asserted.
India and Pakistan are currently negotiating a settlement of their 18-year dispute over the Siachen glacier and one of the issues being discussed is demilitarisation.
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