Urging the Centre to take cognizance of the repeated boundary tussle with China, Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said on Friday that the country needs to shift focus from its border with Pakistan to that with China. Rawat asked the Centre to first implement properly its ‘neighborhood first’ policy.
In a press conference on Friday, the same day when four Supreme Court judges wrote a historic letter to the Centre, General Bipin Rawat said that Chinese troops were ramping up pressure along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). During the press conference, the Army Chief stressed that although China maybe a powerful country, India is not a weak nation.
The media address came on the eve of the Army Day. Rawat said that India must continue to extend support to countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan so that a better policy with China can be established. “We cannot allow the neighbourhood to be drifted away from us — whether it is Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka or Afghanistan. These nations have to be kept on board, and I think we have to put in our wholehearted effort to ensure we continue to support them,” he said.
“…we have kept our focus on the western front. I think time has come for us to focus on the northern border. Therefore, our infrastructure development on the northern border has to be speeded up. We are seeking support of other nations, group of nations in the region, to see that we are not isolated completely in a situation in Asia against an assertive China. That is the next step that is being taken and, therefore, you will find that a quadrilateral is formed,” he added.
India’s standoff against China at Doklam was the first highlight of tensions brewing between the two countries regarding the establishment of boundaries.