Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande on Monday said that China aspires to become a global net security provider by replacing the United States in this role, news agency PTI reported.
General Manoj Pande also spoke about the potential trigger for escalations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and highlighted transgressions as the main concern for India. However, he emphasized that India is adequately prepared to deal with any contingency that may arise.
Commenting on China's aspirations to become a global net security provider replacing the US, the Indian army chief cited China's involvement in recent peace talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as its peace plan to end the 13-month-long Russia-Ukraine war, as examples of China's desire to increase its global influence.
"Brokering peace talks between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and putting forth the Chinese 12-point peace plan for ending the Russia-Ukraine conflict, are reflective of a Chinese urgency to replace the US as a global net security provider," General Manoj Pande said while addressing the 2nd Strategic Dialogue on 'Rise of China and its Implications for the World'.
The Army chief recognized China's significant capacities for force mobilization, application, and sustenance of military operations, and maintained that the long-pending boundary issue cannot be divorced from bilateral relations between the two countries. The Chief of Army Staff cautioned that transgressions remain the potential trigger for escalations, and that Sino-Indian border management requires close monitoring to prevent any infirmities that may lead to wider conflict.
Also read | 'Militarising Gwadar possible if China believes Indian antagonisms are past point of no return'
"I think the most important aspect of our operational environment remains our legacy challenges of the unsettled and disputed borders. Pockets of dispute and contested claims to the territory continue to exist due to differing perceptions of the alignment of the Line of Actual Control. Transgressions remain the potential trigger for escalations," he pointed out.
General Pande also stressed the importance of maintaining peace and tranquility along the LAC, citing past agreements/protocols signed between India and China, including those in 1993, 1996, 2005, and 2013. He expressed concern about China's violations of these protocols, particularly its attempts to carry out transgressions across the LAC.
The Army chief acknowledged that engagement mechanisms exist at political, diplomatic, and military levels between India and China, which are optimally utilized to ensure stability along the LAC. He also noted that India has carried out the required rebalancing of its forces to affect the desired response on the northern border.
General Pande reiterated that India has adequate reserves and was prepared to deal with any contingency, while troops continue to deal with China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in a firm, resolute, and measured manner. He also highlighted the Indian Army's efforts to fructify operationally critical logistical requirements, especially roads in the forward areas, and to upgrade infrastructure in synergy with all agencies in the forward areas.
General Pande also spoke about China's rapid economic rise, pointing out that China is now the world's largest economy in Purchasing Power Parity terms. He stated that China's economic expansion has been multifaceted, with efforts to expand its sphere of influence through economic manoeuvring, weaponization of resource supply chains, financing of large infrastructure projects with scant regard for environmental and safety standards, and straddling recipient countries with unsustainable debt.
Also read | India-US goods & services trade doubled since 2014, surpasses $191 bn in 2022
"On the one hand, it is building an 'international network of coercion through predatory economics', while on the other it claims to pull more than 100 million of its own people out of poverty.
"Its efforts to expand the sphere of influence through economic manoeuvring, weaponization of resource supply chains, financing large infrastructure projects with scant regard for environmental and safety standards and straddling recipient countries with unsustainable debt, are there for the world to see," he said.
The Army chief also expressed concern about issues related to the theft of Intellectual Property Rights, stealing trade secrets and technology from foreign companies, and unfair trade practices.