Pakistan and China together form a potent threat to national security and their collusive approach towards India cannot be wished away, Army Chief Gen MM Naravane said on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference ahead of Army Day, Gen Naravane elaborated extensively on the situation in eastern Ladakh, and said Indian troops have been maintaining a very high level of combat readiness to effectively deal with any eventualities in the region.
The Chief of Army staff said he was hopeful that India and China will be able to reach an agreement for disengagement and de-escalation based on an approach of mutual and equal security.
At the same time, Gen Naravane, apparently referring to capture of certain strategic heights along the southern bank of Pangong lake by the Indian Army, said his force will hold on to its positions in eastern Ladakh based on its national interest and goals.
Talking about the overall national security challenges, the Army Chief said collusive approach of both China and Pakistan towards India is manifesting on the ground.
''Pakistan and China together form a potent threat and the threat of collusivity cannot be wished away,'' he said.
The Chief of Army staff said India will have to be prepared to deal with a ''two-front'' threat scenario. He said there has been an increasing cooperation between China and Pakistan in both military and non-military sectors.
Gen Naravane said Pakistan continues to use terrorism as an instrument of state policy and India will continue to confront the menace effectively. We reserve the right to respond to cross border terrorism at a time of our choosing with precision, he said.