The day after, Army chief flags: China’s moves lead to conflict

A day after New Delhi confirmed the start of the disengagement process at Pangong Tso as a first step to resolve the nine-month military standoff in Ladakh, Army chief General MM Naravane cautioned against Beijing’s recent moves, including along the Line of Actual Control, which “have created an environment of confrontation and mutual distrust”.

Addressing the joint annual seminar of the Assam Rifles and United Services Institution — excerpts of the keynote address Friday were made available to the press — General Naravane said: “The rising footprints of China in India’s neighbourhood and its attempts to unilaterally alter the status-quo along our disputed borders have created an environment of confrontation and mutual distrust.”

He said the regional security environment is “characterised by Chinese belligerence in the Indo-Pacific, its hostility towards weaker nations and relentless drive to create regional dependencies through initiatives like the BRI (Belt and Road Initiative). The resultant Sino-US rivalry has created regional imbalances and instability”.

Speaking at the seminar on ‘Evolving security challenges in the North-East and Way Forward’, the Army chief underlined: “Growth and development are intricately linked to the security environment. Nowhere has this linkage been more profound than in the North-East region.”

Calling it the centre of gravity for…

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