Amidst the disengagement process on the India-China border along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Former Army Chief General Bikram Singh said that this was the first time India looked China in the eye in contrast to earlier governments’ timidness in dealing with the hostile neighbour.
Speaking at the India Today Conclave East-2021 in Kolkata on Thursday, General Bikram Singh (Retd.), who was the COAS of the Indian Army during the UPA era, said that India’s response to Chinese aggressive actions along the border was timid in the past and any provocations were resolved through diplomatic channels. However, this was the first time India looked China in the eye and mobilised the forces, he said.
“We had been timid with China in the past. Whenever they came into our land, we solved it diplomatically. This was the first time we looked China in the eye and mobilized,” said General Bikram Singh (Retd.).
“Since the 1993 agreement, China has had a poor track record in terms of adhering to confidence-building measures and protocols,” he added.
The retired COAS also pointed out that the costs at both strategic and political levels are high for Xi Jinping if China continues to clash with India along the border.
Further, General Bikram Singh (Retd.) added that India needs to move ahead with cautious optimism as we cannot take China at face value.
General Singh’s statements come at the backdrop of a recent agreement between India and China to start disengagement of troops on the north and south banks of the Pangong Lake nearly nine months after the military standoff in eastern Ladakh.
Clashes between the two countries have occurred along the Line of Actual Control raising fears of serious conflict breaking out between the two countries. The Chinese troops had clashed with the Indian Army on the intervening night of June 15 and 16, leading to a violent hand-to-hand clash with the Chinese counterparts. In the clash, 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives.
The Indian Army had made a major breakthrough and occupied six new heights along the LAC in Eastern Ladakh. This was after India had acted proactively to occupy heights in regions on the Southern Bank of the Pangong Tso lake and strengthened their positions.