China is India’s biggest security threat, says defence chief

A lack of ‘trust’ and growing ‘suspicion’ is coming in the way of resolving the border dispute between India and China, Rawat says

Chinese are building villages possibly for billeting and locating their civilians or for their military in the future all along the LAC, Bipin Rawat said

China has become India’s biggest security threat, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat has said, adding the country is “prepared for any misadventure along the border”.

A lack of “trust” and growing “suspicion” is coming in the way of resolving the border dispute between India and China, the general said late Thursday. In October the 13th round of border talks between Indian and Chinese military commanders ended in a stalemate as both sides couldn’t agree on how to pull back from the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Rawat’s comments coincide with the Ministry of External Affairs’ criticism of new Chinese construction along the LAC.

“China has undertaken construction activities in the past several years along the border areas including in the areas that it has illegally occupied over the decades. India has neither accepted such illegal occupation of our territory nor has it accepted the unjustified Chinese claims,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.

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“The present controversy that has erupted, that the Chinese have come across into our territory and built a new village is not true. But what I wish to come out with is that Chinese are building villages possibly for billeting and locating their civilians or for their military in the future all along the LAC, particularly after the recent face-offs that we have had,” Rawat said.

Congress Raises Questions

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala on Friday raised questions over what is happening on the LAC in the eastern sector of Arunachal Pradesh, a day after the MEA’s and Rawat’s comments.

“EAM [external affairs ministry] says we will not accept China’s illegal occupation! CDS gives ‘clean chit’ to China? Earlier, PM told an all-party meeting ‘no one has entered our territory’. Defence ministry has conducted 13 rounds of talks with China on Depsang-Gogra. Will Modi govt state the truth?” Surjewala tweeted.

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