India-China | Disengagement a win-win situation, says Army Chief

Army Chief General M M Naravane addresses the Army Day annual press conference at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi, Tuesday, Jan 12, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Army Chief Gen Manoj Naravane on Wednesday said the disengagement in Pangong Tso (lake) was a ‘win-win’ situation for both India and China and it was still a long way towards de-escalation. China had been in the habit of making small incremental moves like in the South China Sea that were not challenged but the Ladakh Standoff had shown that this strategy would not work with India and “every move will be met resolutely”, he noted.

Also read: Antony calls disengagement with China a ‘surrender of rights’

“China has been in the habit of creeping forward and making very small incremental changes, where each change by itself was not very big or worthy of a very strong reaction. Because of these small incremental moves which were never contested it has been able to achieve its aims without firing a shot or without any loss of life. What has happened in the South China Sea is a very glaring example of that,” Gen. Naravane said at a webinar organised by Vivekananda International Foundation. “More than anything else, what we have achieved is to show that this strategy will not work with us and every move will be met resolutely.”

Editorial: Order at the border: On disengagement at the LAC

On the first phase of disengagement completed at Pangong Tso, he stated that it was a good outcome of the 10 rounds of military talks. However, there were pending issues in eastern Ladakh and other parts along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), including Depsang Plains, he pointed out.

“End of the day, we have achieved a lot. We still have a long way to go. We now have to move on to the stage of de-escalation. After that de-induction of troops, which went to the higher reaches,” he observed.

Trust deficit

Gen. Naravane asserted that there was trust deficit with China. “We will be wary and cautious and closely watch the moves that happen on either side of the LAC.”

To a question if India had more tactical leverages such as the domination of the peaks on the Kailash range that have now been vacated, he said ‘they do’, without elaborating. “Every agreement is premised that they are observed in letter and spirit. We will trust but we will verify.” Systems have been put in to verify that these heights were not reoccupied.

On collusion between China and Pakistan, he said there was no overt collusion. Plans were in place for a two and a half front threat, the half being internal security. However, he said, it was the worst case scenario. With the whole of government approach and activities at the diplomatic and political levels, “such a worst case scenario should not be unfolding.”

Editorial: Order at the border: On disengagement at the LAC

When asked if they had done an assessment to identify the shortfalls post the Ladakh stand-off, Gen. Naravane stressed that after every incident, an after action review was carried out and a similar one was carried out. “In the larger scheme of things, we have realised that over the years we have had more focus on our western front than our northern borders... We have done certain amount of rebalancing of our units and formations from the western front to the northern border.”

Technology adoption

The Army was working on futuristic technologies such as swarm drones and Artificial Intelligence (AI). A young officer had come up with a WhatsApp like application, which is currently being put through cyber checks and by April would be implemented across the Army and used for communication.

Also read: Both sides disengaging from Pangong lake area, says China

On AI based projects, Gen Naravane said there are 5-6 projects and one of them was a AI-based software project for translating from Mandarin to English and vice-versa which alsointo account the body language and expressions.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 8:47:12 AM |

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