On Friday, the Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat said India had to intervene in Doklam as China tried to change the existing area by constructing a road. Bipin Rawat called for a multi prolonged approach to deal with an assertive China. It included diplomatic, military and partnerships with other countries in the region.
Bipin Rawat in a statement said, “We understand China is a powerful Country but we are not a weak Nation. Dealing with China is a whole of Government approach. Diplomatic engagement with China is happening well. Focus has to shift to the Northern borders for too long we have focused on the Western borders. We should start preparing for the next kind of warfare which are cyber and space.” Rawat further called for a consistent focus on the neighborhood as a part of building partnerships with like minded countries.
Rawat further added, “We are not getting into alliances but we are seeking support of other group of nations in the region so that we are not isolated against an assertive China. We are looking at diplomatic, military and partnering with countries in the region. We cannot let our neighborhood drift away from us.”
China was constructing roads in North Doklam for many years. In June last year, a large number of Chinese workers and soldiers reached Doklam with equipment for construction. This forced India to intervene on behalf of Bhutan. As India intervened on behalf of another Country, the Ministry of External Affairs is made the sole point of contact with China to avoid confusion.
Rawat said, “Our impression was they looked like changing the status quo. With China, we have an agreement to not change status quo… This was a change of status quo by bringing the road down, so we intervened.” He further added, “The troop strength has gone down recently either due to winter or because they wanted to deescalate. Tents and observation posts remain, a lot of which are temporary structures. We have seen a reduction in manpower. They may come back here after winter or somewhere else. Should they come again, we will see what to do.”
Rawat stressed on the border mechanisms for resolving any issues on the ground. He also pointed out that diplomatic efforts and border demarcation talks between China and Bhutan.