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V.K. Singh: Pakistan, China two irritants for India

New Delhi, Oct 18, 2010 (Calcutta Tube) Describing China and Pakistan as ‘two irritants’ for India, General V.K. Singh, army chief, Friday said the terror infrastructure across the western border and Beijing’s rising military prowess were a matter of worry for the country.

Gen. Singh ruled out any possibility of war with the neighbours. However, he stressed the need to have a ‘substantial’ conventional warfare capability to go for battle in a nuclear backdrop.

‘We have two irritants. One, mainly in terms of how the situation is in Pakistan where there is a problem of governance, where there is certain amount of support that is being given to some terrorists and where the internal situation is not very good,’ the army chief said, addressing a seminar on ‘Indian Army: Emerging Roles and Tasks’ here.

He said the situation in Pakistan ‘can have a fallout in terms of how the things there impact India’.

The army chief said that India has ‘something to worry’ about till the terrorist infrastructure ‘remains intact on the other side of the border’.

‘Similarly, we have a rising China, both economically and militarily,’ Gen. Singh told the seminar organised by an army-sponsored think-tank, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).

The general said India ‘cannot take chances’ though the borders with China have been ‘very stable’.

‘Although we have (confidence building measures) CBMs in place, although we have a very stable border, yet we have a border dispute,’ he obseved.

‘And, therefore, the (Chinese) intentions need to be looked at along with this additional capability that is coming out,’ he said, adding the Chinese military prowess ‘impacts the way we will task our army and the role that we will give to it so that it can do the task that the nation wants’.

He said that a conventional war with China or Pakistan was ‘highly uncertain’ but ‘skirmishes can occur’.

‘We must have a substantial conventional war-fighting capability to function in a conventional conflagration and yet be prepared to function in a nuclear backdrop.’

He noted that India ‘has no extra-territorial ambitions’ but asserted that the country ‘needed to be watchful of China’s intentions in building up its military infrastructure’.

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