Beijing: Reacting to Gen Bipin Rawat`s remark that India should be prepared for a two-front war, China on Thursday wondered whether the Indian Army Chief`s statement represented the view of the Indian government.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said, "We don`t know if he was authorised to speak those words or if it was his spontaneous words and whether his remarks represented the position of the Indian government."
Geng recalled the one-on-one cordial meet between PM Modi and Xi to express surprise over Rawat`s remarks.
"Two days ago President Xi Jinping pointed out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the two countries are each other`s development opportunities and not threats to each other," Geng added.
Geng said that PM Modi too had shown willingness to work with China to maintain steady development of bilateral ties.
"We should not treat each other as rivals," he said.
"So we hope that this military official could see clearly these trends and contribute to the development of India-China relations and say something more in that regard," Geng maintained.
What the Army Chief had said:
Yesterday, the Army Chief had said that the country should be prepared for a two-front war as China had started 'flexing its muscles', while there seemed to be no scope for reconciliation with Pakistan whose military and polity saw an adversary in India.
Referring to the 73-day long Dokalam standoff, he had warned that the situation could gradually snowball into a larger conflict on the northern border.
The Army Chief had stated that there was a possibility that these conflicts could be limited in space and time or could expand into an all out war along the entire frontier, with Pakistan taking advantage of the situation.
"We have to be prepared. In our context, therefore, warfare lies within the realm of reality," he had said and had added that the Army's supremacy among the three services must be maintained to successfully combat external security threats.
The Army Chief had further said that India could not afford to let its guard down against China.
"As far as northern adversary is concerned, the flexing of muscle has started. The salami slicing, taking over territory in a very gradual manner, testing our limits of threshold is something we have to be wary about and remain prepared for situations emerging which could gradually emerge into conflict," he had said.
In military parlance salami slicing denotes divide and conquer process of threats and alliances used to overcome opposition.
He was speaking at a seminar organised by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies.
(With Agency inputs)