New Delhi: India is following a policy of “constructive engagement” with China, Army chief General Dalbir Singh today said even as he stressed on the need for raising the country's capabilities and infrastructure on the Northern Front to meet the “large capability gap”.
He said that the raising of the Mountain Strike Corps would significantly enhance India's capabilities on the Northern Front where the borders with China, he noted, remained “peaceful”.
“As far as other borders are concerned, we are following the policy of constructive engagement (where) China is concerned,” Singh told reporters during his annual media interaction here.
The Army chief said that the confidence-building measures (CBMs) that are in place with China have been very “effective”.
“We are also engaged in army-to-army exchanges which have enhanced mutual understanding over contentious issues,” he added.
The raising of the Mountain Strike Corps is progressing as per laid-down timelines and Singh said that, “these efforts will significantly raise our capabilities on the Northern Front”.
Talking about the infrastructure development, especially along the Northern and North-Eastern borders (with China), he said it “remains a priority to meet the large capability gap”. On issues revolving around the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China, Gen. Singh said that “transgressions” will not occur once the matter of its demarcation was addressed.
“The very fact that the Prime Minister has given suggested to China to clarify (on LAC) is a reflection that it is definitely the first step towards the resolution of the border dispute,” he said.
“A clarification on the LAC is very important. It has been pending for years, it is time to start it again,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping here last year.
Indian and Chinese troops had last year been locked in an over three-week long standoff in eastern Ladakh which had coincided with the Chinese President's visit. The impasse ended following an understanding reached between India and China to carry out disengagement and redeployment of border troops in eastern Ladakh.
“There is no doubt that unless the LAC gets demarcated, we can't progress... (on) the bigger issue of boundary. Once the LAC is demarcated, we will not have problems of transgressions and face-offs on the boundary,” Gen. Singh said. “Today the basic problem in certain areas is that of variation... the perception that LAC varies and because of the perception of LAC varying, we feel LAC there and they feel LAC there,” said the Army chief.
That is where the transgression takes place, he said, adding, “Those are the areas which are disputed, which are sensitive. The moment demarcation takes place, all these problems will be resolved,” Singh said.
He, meanwhile, added that the Army remains committed about complementing the development initiatives of the government in the North-East through people friendly operations.
“In the North-East, situation is stable in the law and order domain. Also, people-friendly operations are being conducted by the army, basically to complement the development initiatives which are taken up by the government,” Singh said.