Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General M.M. Naravane issued a stern warning to China on Tuesday. He said that the Indian Army now is not the same as it was in 1962 and also reminded that it was China who was caught off guard during the Doklam stand-off. Adding to that the Eastern Army Commander said that if the Chinese Army transgressed the Line of Actual Control (LAC) 100 times, Indian troops have done so on twice as many occasions.
Lieutenant General M.M. Naravane, the Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, said: “The Doklam standoff gave a clear signal that the Indian Armed Forces are no pushovers." When the former Chief of the Air Force, Arup Raha, asked about the lessons from the 1962 conflict between India and China and measures taken to rectify the problems, the Lt Gen said: "We are no longer the Army of 62. If China says don't repeat history, we have to also tell them the same thing." 1962 was not a military debacle. It was a political debacle. All Army units fought well and did their assigned task," he said.
"I do not see '62 as a black mark on the Army and armed forces. We have learned our lessons and what went wrong. Over the years, we have been trying to bridge that capability gap. It is not easy to overcome those gaps in a short time frame as we also have budgetary constraints," Lt Gen Naravane said. He also added that 1962 was a political debacle and that the Army has come a long way after that conflict.
Speaking about the build-ups at Doklam by the Chinese, the Lieutenant General said that India has kept up with the developments done at the Chinese side. He added, "We have come a long way and China especially realises that. In fact, China was caught unprepared in the Doklam standoff."
He also mentioned that China was caught unprepared during the 2017 Doklam standoff. The reference was to a 73-day-long military face-off, seen as the most serious in decades, on Bhutan’s Doklam plateau. “They thought that they would get away by being a regional bully but we stood up to the bully," Lieutenant General M.M. Naravane said at an interaction on ‘Defending our Borders’ at the Bharat Chamber of Commerce in Kolkata. The Indian Armed Forces are capable of taking on any adversary, he added.
Lieutenant General M.M. Naravane reacted to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks on nuclear capabilities of the two neighbours during an address to his country on Monday. “They can keep raising the nuclear bogey, we are not scared of that,” the Army vice-chief designate said, adding, "If there is any conflict today, we will fight. We have enough. We do not need to worry."
Tensions between India and Pakistan spiked after India abrogated provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution, evoking strong reactions from Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his meeting with US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in France on Monday, had categorically rejected any scope for third party mediation between India and Pakistan on Kashmir. Khan has said he will raise the Kashmir issue at every international forum, including the UN General Assembly. “Will these big countries keep looking at their economic interests only? They should remember, both countries have nuclear weapons,” Khan said in his address.
Speaking on revoking of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant General M.M. Naravane said that Article 370 was removed as it outlived its utility. He said that Article 370 had a meaning at the time it was incorporated. “It was an enabling provision, it has outlived its utility and so has been removed, everything at that point of time had meaning. That is why it was there, but it does not mean the situation never changes. What has to be achieved was achieved. It was no longer required now." Naravane also said that it is not true that people of Jammu and Kashmir are not welcoming the change, and pointed out that 55 per cent of the now-bifurcated state constitutes Ladakh.
(With PTI inputs)