STATE TIMES NEWSNew Delhi: Any misadventure by Pakistan Army will be repelled with punitive response and no act of terror will go unpunished, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Saturday. Speaking at an event on ’20 Years after Kargil Conflict’, Rawat said the Pakistan Army, time and again, resorts to misadventure, either through state-sponsored terrorism or intrusions in India. “The Indian armed forces stand resolute and ready to defend our territorial integrity. Let there be no doubt that misadventures will be repelled with a punitive response,” he said. Rawat also asserted that no act of terror will go unpunished. “Surgical strike post Uri and Balakot air strike (after Pulwama terror attack) have amply demonstrated our political and military resolve against terror. Any act of terror will not go unpunished,” he added. The Army chief noted that the country cannot afford to be import-dependent throughout and emphasised on achieving self-reliance in critical technology. The rise of non-state actors and the readiness to use terror and other irregular methods of fighting have become a new norm, he said. Addition of cyber and space domain has changed the battlefield scenario, the Army chief said. He said the Indian armed forces must be prepared for the future conflict with these changed character of the warfare. Rawat said the armed forces need to be conscious about the dynamic and rapid technological advancements in the space, its militarisation and increasing integration of space capabilities in future war-fighting. Referring to the raising of the Defence Space Agency, the Defence Cyber Agency and Special Operations Divisions, he said it is a step in transforming the armed forces towards jointness and integration. Rawat said India has come a long way since Kargil and raising of new battalions in consonance of forces’ operational requirements have taken place. Improvements in the war-fighting doctrine, strategy and concepts have been enunciated and revised continuously, he said. Reorganisation of the Indian Army is currently underway and these efforts are a step towards achieving a lean force. Army chief also said there has been no intrusion by the Chinese in Ladakh’s Demchok sector. “There is no intrusion,” Rawat said on the sidelines of an event. His statement comes amidst reports of Chinese soldiers crossing the Line of Actual Control (LAC) last week after some Tibetans hoisted Tibetan flags on the occasion of Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6. The Army chief said both sides have different perspectives on the Line of Actual Control. “There are gaps in between. So both sides patrol and come into each other’s areas. Chinese come and patrol to their perceived LAC which we try and prevent. We try and attempt to reach out to LAC or based on the limit of patrolling given to us, we visit those areas,” he said. South Block sources had on Friday said some 11 Chinese in civilian clothes arrived in two vehicles when Ladakhi villagers were celebrating Dalai Lama’s birthday on July 6.
They then showed them banners and waited there for 30-40 minutes but did not cross the Line of Actual Control, they said.
The Tibetans were celebrating the 84th birthday of the Dalai Lama.
“At times, there are celebrations that take place at the local level. Celebrations were going on our side by our Tibetans in the Demchok sector. Based on that, some Chinese also came to see what was happening,” General Rawat said.
When asked whether the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers were present during the July 6 incident, he said security officials from both sides accompany civilians whenever they go near the LAC.
“…when the civilians go forward, obviously there will be PLA and when our civilians go to LAC, the ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) or the Army will accompany them. We are not going to allow the civilians to go near the LAC without being monitored. So, both sides will monitor,” he said.
The matter was also raised in the flag meetings between the security officials of the two countries, the Army Chief said.
“Everything is normal. You need to dispel this myth that there has been any kind of intrusion or activity by the Chinese which is detrimental to our security,” he said.
“We have a very good working relationship with the Chinese. Anytime such things happen, we have the local commanders talking to each other. We are meeting regularly,” the Army chief added.
India and China share a disputed border and the armies of the two countries were engaged in a stand-off for 73 days in 2017 in Doklam.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper