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India should be prepared for conflict not amounting to full-scale war with China: Former Army chief

PTI, Jun 17, 2020, 7:35 PM IST

New Delhi: Former Army Chief General Shankar Roy Chowdhury (retired) on Wednesday said it should be remembered that India is not in 1962, and asserted that the country should be prepared for a conflict not amounting to a full-scale war with China.

Twenty Indian Army personnel including a colonel were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on Monday night, the biggest military confrontation in over five decades between the two neighbours.

Roy Chowdhury said that the strength of both sides has multiplied immensely since 1962, when the two neighbours fought a brief war.

“India is not in 1962, (and) we must remember that neither China is in 1962,” he told PTI.

The Chinese Army is also reported to have suffered several casualties in the face-off.

Asked how India should respond to the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) aggression, the general said, “India should be prepared for an outbreak of conflict below war, but above (the scale of) incidents of border skirmishes.”

India should also handle issues diplomatically at the same time, said the general who was the Chief of the Army Staff between November 22, 1994, and September 30, 1997.

Roy Chowdhury said that India must be prepared since China is militarily much stronger than Pakistan, which India has handled successfully.

He said that China’s sudden aggression can be linked to India not being with it on various international issues for which the world community is blaming China.

Apart from several other issues, China is facing international flak led by the United States of America over the spread of coronavirus across the world.

“China thinks it is not to blame and Galwan is an adjunct to that,” the former Army chief said.

India is building roads in its own territory to connect with Daulat Beg Oldie, which is a major airstrip of the Indian Air Force, Roy Chowdhury said.

“There is a bridge being built which I think the Chinese don’t want, so they have taken this unilateral position trying to block the bridge, leading to this clash,” he said.

There have been no major clashes with China in the northern frontiers except for Chusul in 1962, after which it was quiet, he said adding that it has now disrupted.

“India has multiplied its potential, unfortunately not so much economically. Militarily we can match China (but) that will take a lot of money,” he said.

“Apart from being prepared militarily, we must upgrade ourselves economically,” he said, adding that India should reconsider awarding contracts to Chinese companies for various projects.

Lt General J R Mukherjee (retired), who has vast experience along the Indo-China frontiers spanning over 40 years, also said what China has done is due to India closing up more towards the USA and other countries and for condemning China for the coronavirus pandemic, which he said is “correct”.

“All these are reasons for what they have done. They have come in (at Galwan) and refused to honour the agreement for pulling back, leading to the present situation,” Mukherjee told PTI.

“I would have responded militarily, but that is a political decision to be made,” the former General Officer Commanding-in-Command (GOC-in-C) of the Eastern Command, said.

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