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Relationship with China would develop as per India’s wishes, says Army Chief

Army Chief General MM Naravane has said that the Chinese strategy of nibbling territory slowly will not work with India anymore

Sending a strong message to China, the Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane has said that the Chinese strategy of nibbling territory slowly will not work with India. Speaking in a webinar on "Role of the Indian Army in dealing with the contemporary national security challenges" organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation, General Naravane said that the disengagement process at Pangong Tso was a 'win-win' for both the countries.

He said China has realised now that its strategy with India will not work. “China has been in the habit of creeping forward, making small incremental changes… And, because of these small incremental moves, which has never been contested, it has been able to achieve its aim without firing a shot or suffering casualties. We have shown that this strategy will not work with us and every move will be met resolutely,” said Naravane, adding "China has been in the habit of creeping forward making very small incremental changes where each change by itself was not very big or worthy of a very strong reaction."

Last Saturday, the 10th round of talks between the senior military commanders of the both country took place after the completion of the disengagement process between Chinese and Indian militaries in eastern Ladakh's Pangong Tso area. The focus areas of these talks are outstanding problems with PLA at Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra in eastern Ladakh. These talks will ensure that no side unilaterally alters the status quo along the 3488-km long LAC and the status quo ante is restored on all points.

"We still have a long way to go. We are now at the de-escalation stage and after that, the troops, which went higher reaches, will move back followed by their de-induction," said the army chief.

He credited political, diplomatic and economic push – besides that from the military – for the disengagement approach but cautioned that there is still a long way to go because of the trust deficit between India and China.

"Going forward, some issues remain in the areas of Depsang. The Defence Minister himself mentioned this in the Parliament. There are pending issues in the areas of Eastern Ladakh and other areas along the Line of Actual Control. But we have our strategies in place for that," the general said. Meanwhile, India has made it clear that it is not considering any proposal for Chinese companies to invest in India and continues to closely watch China's next steps on the LAC.

India has denied reports that New Delhi could clear 45 Chinese investment proposals

“This report is factually incorrect. The government has not cleared investment from China at any level. There is no such proposal either,” a senior official said, pointing to a Reuters report making it clear that New Delhi is in no rush to lift restrictions on investments from Beijing.

India has always maintained that peace and tranquillity at the border is a prerequisite for developing bilateral relations. The two countries have taken early steps to restore normalcy at the Ladakh border but still have a long distance to travel for the normalcy in relations to be restored.

India has warned that relations risk permanent damage unless China pulls its troops back to positions they held before May.

During this period of standoff, India announced that its going for Atmanibhar Bharat to make India self reliant in core sectors.

India’s stance is clear that the border dispute is firmly linked to all aspects of the relationship, including trade.

“Our relationship with China would develop along the road that we wish to develop. We will like to have peace and tranquility on the border and all other engagements will continue… Nobody wants an unsettled border.” Naravane said.