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INDIA

‘China powerful, India not weak either’

India cannot allow its neighbours to drift away from it to counter an assertive China, Army Chief said.
PTI
New Delhi | Posted : Jan 13 2018 1:29AM | Updated: Jan 13 2018 12:59AM
‘China powerful, India not weak either’

Army Chief General Bipin Rawat today said India will not allow its territory to be invaded by anyone, asserting that China may be a powerful country but India is not a weak nation either.

The time had come for India to shift focus to its northern border, he said, and added that the country was capable of handling China's assertiveness along it.

India cannot allow its neighbours to drift away from it to counter an assertive China, Army Chief said.

Rawat said countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have to be kept on board as part of a broader strategy to deal with China, and India must make "wholehearted" efforts to continue extending support to them.

China has been trying to expand its influence in countries in India's neighbourhood including Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, which have traditionally close ties with New Delhi.

"We are seeking support of other nations, group of nations in the region, to see that we are not isolated completely in a situation in Asia against an assertive China. That is the next step that is being taken and therefore you will find that a quadrilateral is formed," said Rawat.

At the military level, the Army Chief said, India's engagement with almost all nations of the region are of a high order, and added the Army is concentrating more on the neighbourhood than beyond.

He said, by keeping these nations with it, India would be able to make sure that the assertiveness that China is showing against it is balanced in some way.

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam since June 16 after the Indian side stopped construction of a road in the disputed area by the Chinese Army. Bhutan and China have a dispute over Doklam. The face- off had ended on August 28. Rawat said China has been keeping its troops in north Doklam.

He said India is dealing with China at different levels including through diplomatic engagement.

He also admitted that China was exerting pressure along several border areas but India made sure the situation did not escalate beyond a point.

Referring to the US' warnings to Pakistan, Rawat said India will have to wait and see its impact. PTI

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