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If China breached the “grey zone” at the border 100 times, we did it 200 times: Indian Army Vice Chief designate Lt Gen M M Naravane

He said that India has come a long way since 1962, and China was caught unprepared during the Doklam crisis in 2017

Indian Army’s Vice Chief designate Lt Gen M M Naravane today said that China transgressed the “grey zone” at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) 100 times, while the Indian Army did so 200 times, twice the number. Currently the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Eastern Command, Naravane said that China acted as a regional bully during the Doklam standoff.

Addressing an integration on the topic ‘Defending our Borders’ at the Bharat Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata, he said that China must realise that current Indian Army is not same as what it was during the Indo-China war in 1962. He said that India Army’s strong position during the Doklam standoff indicated that Indian Armed forces are no pushovers.

When asked about the lessons learnt from the 1962 war, Naravane said, “We are no longer the Army of 1962. If China says don’t forget history, we also have to tell them the same thing.” He said that India has come a long way since 1962, and China was caught unprepared during the Doklam crisis in 2017.

“They thought that they would get away by being a regional bully, but we stood up to the bully,” he said asserting that India is capable of combating China.

Lt Gen M M Naravane informed that there has been some development at Doklam after the standoff, where both India and China have made two barracks each, both sides have maintained their respective roads.

Talking about transgressions at the LAC, he said that if China entered the grey zone 100 times, India went to the grey zone 200 times. So, it not one-way aggression by one side. He added, “I am sure in their war room they are also complaining that we have done this so many times.”

But he clarified that although grey zone has been violated a number of times, as long as the red line not breached both sides have agreed not to escalate the matter.

The officer also said that the defeat in 1962 was a political defeat, not military. He said that Indian military fought well during the war. He added, “we have learnt our lessons on what went wrong. And over the years we have been trying to bridge that capability gap”.

When he was asked about an article published in a Chinese newspaper that China would have to fight six wars by 2050, including one against India over Arunachal Pradesh, Naravane said, “It is quite a tall task they have set for themselves”. But he also added that as 2049 will be the 100th year of the Communist of Party of China, Beijing would “definitely want to achieve something”.

The officer said that China may try to achieve the goals mentioned in the article not by war, but by indirect ways. He said that they may instigate people in the areas they want to capture to demand to merge with China.

In June 2013, the pro-government Chinese-language newspaper, Wenweipo, had published an article titled “Six Wars China Is Sure to Fight In the Next 50 Years”. The six wars have a common purpose, to reclaim territories what China believes to be their, which was lost by the country after their defeat to the British in the Opium war. The six years anticipated by the article were, Unification of Taiwan in 2020-25, “reconquest” of Spratly Islands in 2025-30, “reconquest” of Arunachal Pradesh, which they call Southern Tibet, in 2035-40, “reconquest” of Diaoyu Island and Ryukyu Islands in 2040-45, unification of Outer Mongolia in 2045-50, and finally taking back areas lost to Russia in 2055-60.

Talking about conquering Arunachal, the article had said that although India will still lag behind China, it is still one of the world powers, and if China uses force to conquer Arunachal, it will face some losses. Therefore, the writer had suggested to incite the disintegration of India and dividing it into several countries. It said that although today disintegration may not be possible, China should try to incite Assam. It had also suggested that China should export advanced weapons to Pakistan, so that they can conquer Southern Kashmir. It said that while India and Pakistan will be busy in war, China will able to take Arunachal. The article had claimed that India won’t be able to fight two wars simultaneously.

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