Indian military chief says major conflict with China cannot be ruled out
New Delhi, Nov 6 (efe-epa).- India’s Chief of Defense Staff Bipin Rawat said on Friday that the possibility of a military conflict with China cannot be ruled out, admitting that the tensions on the de-facto border between the two countries continue to weigh heavily on the diplomatic efforts to reach a solution.
“In the overall security calculus, border confrontation, transgressions and unprovoked tactical military actions spiraling into a larger conflict cannot be discounted,” Rawat said in a webinar organized by the National Defense College.
The defense chief’s comments come in the backdrop of the worst border clash between India and China in 45 years in June, in which at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed and 76 injured in the Galwan valley of the northern Ladakh sector of the border. The Chinese side did not reveal its casualties.
Both countries responded to the clash by sending more troops to the Line of Actual Control (LAC), as the de-facto border is referred to, increasing the risk of fresh confrontations, although both New Delhi and Beijing have been trying to deescalate the situation through diplomatic means since then.
However, both sides have repeatedly accused each other of carrying out fresh military actions and violating territorial agreements even as the dialog continued with more than a dozen high-level military meetings so far.
Despite the attempt to reduce the military presence in the area – situated in the western Himalayas – through talks, Rawat acknowledged that “the situation along the LAC remained tense.”
Increasing tensions with China played a role in India signing a satellite data-sharing agreement with the United States in October, which would allow New Delhi to achieve better precision for managing its missiles or drones.
However, the military alliance between the US and India against China goes beyond the land border, as the two countries are also trying to counter Beijing’s increasing influence in the Indian Ocean, among countries such as Sri Lanka and Maldives. EFE-EPA