NEW DELHI: China is the biggest security threat facing India, “much bigger” than Pakistan, and the country is prepared to deal with “any misadventure” on the “land borders or the high seas”, chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat said.
Asked whether China was “enemy number 1” for India at the Times Now summit on Thursday evening, General Rawat said there was “no doubt” about it. “The threat on the northern borders is much bigger,” he said.
“We are well prepared for any misadventure… Should they carry out a Galwan-like incident again, they will get it (back) in the same coin as they got last time,” said Gen Rawat. The CDS was referring to the violent skirmishes between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15 last year.

On the 18-month-long military confrontation in eastern Ladakh, he made it clear that India’s immediate priority is to ensure troop disengagement at the friction points with “sufficient separation and distance” to ensure no inadvertent incident takes place. While such disengagement has taken place in “almost all areas” including Pangong Tso-Kailash Range region, some places like the strategically-located Depsang Plains and the CNN junction in Demchok are left.
“Disengagement is likely and will happen. But de-escalation appears to be far-fetched because of the kind of infrastructure the Chinese have developed…it will take a long time,” he said.
The Indian armed forces, on their part, remain well-prepared for forward deployment for the second consecutive winter in the high-altitude region, and will not pull back till China agrees to withdraw its troops to their pre-April 2020 positions.
“We have already stocked up for the winter. We have adequate resources to combat the adversary if he indulges in any misadventure. We will not budge because we are concerned about China re-occupying the positions. If the Chinese are going to stay there permanently, so will we,” the CDS said. Noting that there is “mutual suspicion on both sides”, he added that India will not “let its guard down” because the People’s Liberation Army has better infrastructure on its side and could come back faster to forward locations.




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