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Army Chief: India Must Be Ready for War on 2 Fronts

  • VOA News

Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar, right, poses with, from left, Indian Army Chief Bipin Rawat, Indian Air Force Chief Birender Singh Dhanoa and Indian Navy Chief Sunil Lanba at the opening ceremony of Aero India 2017 at Yelahanka air base in Bangalore, India, Feb. 14, 2017.

India’s army chief has warned the nation to be prepared for a possible two-front war — with China and Pakistan — at the same time.

General Bipin Rawat warned China would continue its efforts to “nibble away” at India’s territory, as it did during a recent standoff in the Himalayas that ended last week. He said more incidents like the standoff at Doklam plateau in Bhutan could lead to a larger conflict on India’s northern border.

If that were to happen, Rawat warned, it is possible Pakistan would seize the opportunity to strike its arch nemesis from the west.

“We have to be prepared for conflict on the northern and western borders,” he said.

“As far as our western adversary is considered,” he said in reference to Pakistan, “we don’t see any scope of reconciliation because their military, the polity, and the people in that nation have been made to believe that India wants to break their country into pieces.”

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since both nations gained independence from Britain 70 years ago. India and China have also fought once since then.

All three nations are nuclear powers, but Rawat said that will not necessarily be a deterrent.

“Nuclear weapons are weapons of deterrence. Yes, they are. But to say that they can deter war or they will not allow nations to go to war, in our context that may also not be true,’’ he said.

Rawat made the comments at a seminar organized by the Center for Land Warfare Studies, a New Delhi-based think tank.

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