India will not get pushed under any pressure: Gen Rawat
New Delhi, April 15 (PTI): India stood firm in preventing a change of status quo on the northern borders and the country proved it will not get pushed under any pressure, Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat said on Thursday, referring to the border standoff with China in eastern Ladakh.
In his address at the Raisina Dialogue here, Gen Rawat said China felt that it will be able to compel nations to give in to its demands by doing a little bit of “shove and push” as it has superior armed forces because of technological advantage.
“But, I think India stood firm on the northern borders and we have proven that we will not get pushed,” he said at the virtual conference.
The Chief of Defence Staff(CDS) said India was able to get support of the international community by standing firm in preventing the attempt of changing the status quo in the region.
“They tried to ensure that they can change the status quo by the use of disruptive technologies without using force…They thought that India, as a nation, will succumb to the pressures that they have been putting on us because of the technological advantage that they have,” he said, adding that did not happen.
Gen Rawat said the international community came to India’s support to say that “yes there is an international base-rule order which every nation must follow. That is what we have been able to achieve.”
India and China are locked in a military standoff in multiple friction points in eastern Ladakh since early May last year that has significantly strained bilateral ties.
As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, India and China completed withdrawal of troops and weapons from the North and South banks of Pangong lake in February. The two sides are now engaged in talks to extend the disengagement process to the remaining friction points.
“They feel that they have arrived and they have a superior armed force because of the technological advantage that they have,” Gen Rawat said.
“They have been able to create disruptive technologies which can paralyse systems of the adversary, and therefore, they feel that just by doing a little bit of shove and push, they will be able to compel nations to give in to their demands,” he said.
Referring to modernisation of the armed forces, Gen Rawat described the F-35 fighter jets of the US as a state of the art platform but added that he was not sure whether the US will share the technology with India.
“What they have offered us is a lower version in the F-series,” he said.
At the conference, Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of Japan Self Defence Forces, Gen Koji Yamazaki said China is attempting to unilaterally change the international order, and that it is necessary for cooperation among like-minded countries in areas of disruptive technologies and counter the “grey zone tactics”.
He said China does not recognise the legitimate interests of Japan and other countries in the region and such an approach will heighten tension, adding rules-based order is necessary for stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Gen Yamazaki also noted that any probable contingency in Taiwan directly impacts the defence of Japan.
Chief of Defence Force of Australia General Angus Campbell said the “grey zone tactics” are a way to nibble away at territory.
“We see this in the South China Sea. It is very challenging to respond without breaching the line that leads to open conflict,” he said.
Gen Rawat said geo-politics, coupled with geo-economics, is seeking to reshape the rules that govern the world order and that China is attempting to convey a message that it is “my way or no way.”
“There are some nations which follow international order. There are others which depend on their own law and make their own rules and regulations, try and change the status quo. These kinds of things do lead to conflict situations and that is what we are witnessing on our northern borders,” he added.
The CDS said the world is becoming “fragile” on account of threat from high-technology warfare. “Nations feel that they have arrived with better technology, and therefore, threaten other nations which probably do not have that kind of technology.”
“Unconventional means of conflict being employed by clever use of disruptive technologies could paralyse networks causing breakdown of systems like banking, power grids, transportation and communication to name a few,” he added.
Organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a think-tank, in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs(MEA), Raisina Dialogue is India’s premier conference on geopolitics and geo-economics, and its sixth edition is being held from April 13 to 16.