Of a 2-front war threat....

In significant comments after a prolonged military stand-off in Doklam, Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat said differences with Pakistan seem “irreconcilable“ in the light of a proxy war it wages against India, and that China, too, will continue to try and nibble away Indian territory.

Gen Rawat also said India cannot rule out the possibility of a two-front war--with China and Pakistan--despite credible nuclear deterrence capabilities, warning that the northern neighbour will use “salami slicing“ tactics to alter ground positions along the border. “ As far as the northern adversary is concerned, the flexing of muscles has started... Salami slicing, taking over territory in a 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,“ Gen Rawat said.

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 confrontation between India and China near the Sikkim-Tibet-Bhutan trijunction was finally defused with mutual disengagement and withdrawal of troops after intensive diplomatic parleys.

The Indian defence establishment has repeatedly warned of a “collusive threat“ from China and Pakistan, with the former helping Islamabad develop its nuclear missile arsenal. After the Doklam crisis, the assessment is that the People's Liberation Army will not shy away from needling India with “transgressions“ 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. “We have to be prepared for conflict on the northern and western borders,“ said Gen Rawat. “ As far as our western adversary is considered, we don't see any scope of reconciliation because their military, the polity, and the people in that nation have been made to believe India wants to break their country into pieces,“ he added.

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