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Indo-China border remains sensitive, has potential to escalate: Union minister

In January 2018, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said the time had come for India to shift its focus from borders with Pakistan to the frontier with China.

Indo-China border remains sensitive, has potential to escalate: Union minister
Representational image (File photo)

New Delhi: Junior Defence Minister Subhash Bhamre on Thursday said the situation along India's border with China is 'sensitive' and it has the potential to escalate.

"At the Line of Actual Control the situation is sensitive as incidents of patrolling, transgression and standoffs have a potential of escalation," he said.

"While confidence-building measures are being enhanced, we shall continue to take all action deemed necessary to ensure the sanctity of LAC," the minister of state for defence said, addressing a seminar on the Army's contribution to nation building, PTI reported.

The nearly 4,000-km-long border between the two countries is referred to as Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Troops of India and China were locked in a 73-day-long standoff in Doklam from June 16, 2017, after the Indian side stopped the building of a road in the area by the Chinese Army. The face-off ended on August 28, 2017.

Talking about the regional security situation, Bhamre also talked about the likelihood of Pakistan becoming a 'conduit' for the spread of ISIS ideologies to countries like India.

He also said that rising instability in India's neighbourhood had increased the possibility of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction to non-state actors.

"Today, we are facing a difficult neighbourhood with myriad security challenges. Ceasefire violation along the Line of Control continues to target Army and civilians. The situation in the hinterland in Jammu and Kashmir remains a challenge," he said.

Need to shift focus from border with Pakistan to that with China: Army Chief

Earlier, in January 2018, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said the time had come for India to shift its focus from borders with Pakistan to the frontier with China.

Admitting that Chinese troops have been ramping up pressure along the LAC, he had asserted that China may be a powerful country but India too is not a weak nation.

"For too long, we have kept our focus on the western front. I think the time has come for us to focus on the northern border. Therefore, our infrastructure development on the northern border has to be speeded up," the Army chief had said.

"At the military level, we know that if there is a threat from China, we have to be prepared for it," Rawat had said. The Army is concentrating more on the neighbourhood than beyond as this will enable India to balance the Chinese assertiveness, he had maintained.

"That is the approach we are taking. We know China is a powerful country but let us also not forget that we are not a weak nation. Let's not get so worried. We are dealing with the situation. We are confident we will be able to handle the situation," Rawat had said.

He also said that India was dealing with China at different levels including through diplomatic engagement. The Army chief had also admitted that China was exerting pressure along several border areas, but India had made sure the situation did not escalate beyond a point

In a media address on the eve of the Army Day, Rawat had further said that countries like Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan have to be kept on board as part of a broader strategy to deal with China, and India must make "wholehearted" efforts to continue extending support to them

In recent past, China has been deepening ties with some South Asian nations and providing them with huge financial aid, which, some experts feel, may draw India's neighbours including the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Nepal towards Beijing.

(With PTI inputs)