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October 20, 2021
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Border disputes fueling larger conflict can’t be overlooked: General Rawat

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The ongoing border dispute with China can be a gnawing problem for the country as it could spiral into a bigger conflict in the region. General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Defence Staff, has warned that a “larger conflict” with China is a possibility if border confrontations and unprovoked military actions are not thwarted. He also pointed out that China and Pakistan acting in collusion could translate into an omnipresent danger of regional instability with potential for escalation.

While saying that a full blown war with China is also not a possibility, he cautioned: “In the overall security calculus, border confrontation, transgressions and unprovoked tactical military actions spiraling into a larger conflict cannot be discounted.”

Gen Rawat’s comments are so far the most direct remarks made by anyone in the government on the escalation along the borders with China hinting towards any possibility of the crisis festering in Ladakh since May spinning out of control.

He admits that the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between the two countries is very tense. China is appearing to be ambitious and aggressive. Gen Rawat says that due to China’s hegemony the situation is tense amid transgressions and belligerent action by the Chinese.

In the aftermath of the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic the economic growth within China slowed down. Hence, China has gone “repressive at home but aggressive abroad”, said Gen Rawat. ”In the coming years, we are likely to witness aggressive pursuit of hegemonic interests by China manifesting through economic exploitation of weaker nations, military modernisation and increased contestation with the West.”

He also pointed out the concern of a China-Pakistan nexus. ”Constant friction with two of our nuclear-armed neighbours with whom India has fought wars increasingly acting in collusion, poses an omnipresent danger of regional strategic instability with potential for escalation, threatening our territorial integrity and strategic cohesion,” General Rawat said.

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