CDS Gen Chauhan Cautions Against Emergence of Technological Gap with Adversaries

Indian Army

Pune: India and Indian armed forces will face “the most formidable challenge” in the “foreseeable future” considering unsettled borders with China and the rise of China, Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan said in his address on March 19.

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Speaking at the “3rd Strategic and Security Dialogue on Rise of China and its Implications for the World” event organised by the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies at Savitribai Phule Pune University in Pune, General Anil Chauhan said, “The challenge we face today is unsettled borders. The ancient frontiers of India started taking shape of firm borders under the British, but they could not get the legitimacy of international borders on independence thus we inherited disputed borders. The occupation of Tibet by China, made them a new neighbour, and a partition of India created a new nation that thrived on hostility and hatred towards us.”

“Today India has disputed borders with both our neighbours. Disputes followed by conflicts have led to the emergence of terms like line of actual control, line of control and actual ground position line. The unsettled borders with China and the rise of China will remain the most formidable challenge that India and Indian armed forces will face in the foreseeable future,” he said.

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The armed forces need to maintain the legitimacy of India’s claims during peacetime on the disputed borders, General Chauhan stated and stressed that it requires astute handling of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at all friction points and both sides need to operate within the ambit rules of engagements.

CDS General Anil Chauhan said, “The armed forces need to maintain the legitimacy of our claims during the peacetime on this disputed borders. This will require very astute handling of the PLA at all the friction points, calibrated firmness, and both sides to operate within the ambit of agreed rules of engagements. Like all disputed borders, there will be a tendency by the adversary to create new facts, or markers, toponomy or cartographic aggression, or to create a new narrative. This again will have to be countered collectively by all of us at all levels, that would include academicians, strategists, thinkers, students, everyone has to do it together.

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The relations between the two nations cannot be viewed from a binary kind of perspective, he said. Stressing that the rise of China affects other nations as well, he called for looking at like-minded nations for equitable balance.

General Chauhan, referring to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s recent comment about ties between India and China,  said, “As EAM said, ‘there is more to the Sino-India relation than the border disputes.’ Similarly, in an increasingly interconnected world, Sino-India relations cannot be viewed from a binary kind of perspective. The rise of China affects other nations as well and we must look at like-minded nations for equitable balance while remaining cognizant of the fact as a popular idiom says that one must be prepared to fight its own battle.”

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He cautioned against allowing a significant technological gap to emerge between India and its immediate adversaries, emphasising its potential adverse consequences. “Technology denial regimes existed in the past, but what we are witnessing now is a race to retain technological edge. India cannot afford the emergence of a major technological gap between us and our immediate adversaries, and that would be fatal for us,” he said.