Srinagar: In an apparent departure from his earlier stand and statements, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat has said neither China nor Pakistan was “an imminent threat to the country”.
In earlier statements, Gen Rawat had dubbed the two neighbours India’s northern and western adversaries respectively and that “the country needed to be prepared for a two-front war”.
“None of the country (China or Pakistan) is a threat,” he told the Hindustan Times on the sidelines of an event in Uttarakhand’s capital Dehradun on Saturday noon in response to a query.
“What I had said… said,” he went on to add when reminded of his previous remarks made a little over a week after India and China ended one of their worst military face-offs at Doklam at the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction.
China had reacted to Rawat’s earlier remark, saying ties between the two countries should not be derailed.
Against the backdrop of Doklam standoff, the general said, army was extra vigilant at the borders and the security forces were taking appropriate action in the “sensitive areas”.
On Kashmir, he said: “We too want peace and tranquillity in Kashmir and we are doing everything to secure it.”
But at the same breath he added, army was keeping its option open for “surgical strikes”.
General Rawat was in Dehradun to attend annual function at Cambrian Hall, his alma mater.
The army chief, who hails from Pauri, studied at Dehradun’s Convent of Jesus and Mary (CJM) till Class 2. Thereafter, he studied at Cambrian Hall between 1969 till 1972 and then did his senior schooling at St. Edward’s School, Shimla.