New Delhi: China has a habit of creeping forward, making very small incremental moves, to achieve its objectives, said Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane, adding that this strategy will not work with India.
Addressing a webinar organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation, a public policy think-tank, Naravane said, “China is in the habit of creeping forward making very small incremental changes wherein each change by itself is not very big or worthy of a very strong reaction.”
“Because of the very small incremental moves which were never contested, it has been able to achieve its aims without firing a shot or any loss of life,” he said.
Naravane citied China’s expansionist strategy in the South China Sea and asserted that India will not allow this to happen.
Referring to India’s resolve in Ladakh, he said, “I think more than anything else, what we have achieved is to show that this strategy will not work with us and their every move will be met resolutely.”
Terming the recent disengagement in Pangong lake as a win-win situation, the Army chief cautioned about other areas in Eastern Ladakh.
“Going forward, there are some issues which remain in the areas of Depsang. The Defence Minister himself mentioned this in his update to the Parliament. There are pending issues in the areas of Eastern Ladakh and in other areas along the Line of Actual Control. But we have our strategies in place for that,” Naravane said.
Praising the Indian troops for showing their grit in Ladakh during tussle, he said, “We owe it to the great determination of the men on the ground and the junior leadership which struck out through very adverse winter conditions and were willing to that extra mile in carrying out their duties. We actually owe it to all to them.”
Despite the initial disengagement, the Army chief sounded a warning while dealing with China citing trust deficit.
“In whatever we are doing, we should keep in mind that we have to be wary. We have to be very cautious as there is a trust deficit. Unless that trust deficit is removed, we will continue to be very wary and watch whatever movements happen on either side of the LAC. But I think at the end of day, we have achieved a lot,” Naravane said.
Adding that there is still a long way to go, the Army chief said, “We now have to go the stage of descalation, followed by moving back the troops and the deinduction of troops which went to the higher reaches. We were all in this together. We had a plan chalked out, and had discussed as to what should be the way forward. Whatever has panned out happened as a result of that.”