Tensions with China: General Rawat wants to prepare for a two-front war

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The Indian Army Chief, General Bipin Rawat has once again said that the army must be prepared to fight a two-front war with China and Pakistan. He said that such a possibility cannot be ruled-out because China is flexing its muscles and Pakistan is unbridled.

The four-star general said this while addressing a think tank on Land Warfare based in New Delhi days after India and China disengaged from the 74-day long Doklam standoff. Despite the amicable end to the dispute, General Rawat said the situation could escalate into a protracted conflict. “We have to be prepared. In our context, therefore, warfare lies within the realm of reality,” Rawat said.

The statement appears strange at a time when seemingly ties between both countries have improved owing to the Xiamen Declaration in which militant organizations allegedly supported by Pakistan were included.

He said that nuclear deterrence does not preclude the occurrence of conventional military clashes under the umbrella. ” Nuclear weapons are weapons of deterrence. Yes, they are. But to say that they can deter war or they will not allow nations to go to war, in our context that may also not be true,” he said

The statement appears strange at a time when seemingly ties between both countries have improved owing to the Xiamen Declaration in which militant organizations allegedly supported by Pakistan were included. Moreover, a day before General Rawat made these comments, India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and China’s president, Xi Jinping, agreed on a “forward-looking” approach to Sino-India ties, putting behind the Doklam standoff.

Read more: Can BRICS help India and China mend ties?

Tensions will grow 

Though Delhi is elated that Beijing allegedly warned Islamabad, it appears that the Xiamen Declaration was a tactical ploy to woo India toward BRICS Plus. Both countries have various bones of contention to include CPEC, the issue of Dalai Lama and suspicions about Chinese military incursions in and around the Indian Oceans, not to forget Bejing’s opposition to Delhi’s seats in UNSC and NSG.

Read more: India thrilled over BRICS statement on terrorism, but Sino-Pak ties are…

Pakistan and China while rejecting Trump’s plans for Afghanistan are fast-moving towards jointly countering them. In tandem with Russia and probably Iran, the two countries will be a bulwark against the least-favored new South Asia policy.General Rawat’s fears may not be untrue.

With CPEC being a guarantor of healthy Pak-Sino ties in the near future, the Xiamen Declaration is unlikely to have an impact on China’s position vis-a-vis Pakistan. However, tensions with India are most likely to renew and rise. The fissures will also exacerbate owing to mounting Sino-US tensions. The situation in DPRK is fast-reaching a point where China will be asked to “do more” against Kim Jong Un, something which it is unlikely to comply with. India being a veritable partner of the US in the region will likely confront China in the region. Pakistan and China while rejecting Trump’s plans for Afghanistan are fast-moving towards jointly countering them. In tandem with Russia and probably Iran, the two countries will be a bulwark against the least-favored new South Asia policy. General Rawat’s fears may not be untrue.

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