China intends to keep border issue alive: Army Chief

New Delhi: China does not have the intent to find an early resolution to the overall boundary question, even though the two countries are involved in discussions to solve the crisis in eastern Ladakh, Indian Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande said.

In his first formal media interaction, Pande said that when it comes to China, “The basic issue remains the resolution of the borders.” He was talking in the context of the larger question of the unsettled 3488-km long boundary between the two countries.

“What we see is that China’s intent has been to keep the boundary issue alive,” Pande said, who took over as the new Army Chief on May 1. “What we need is a whole of nation approach” to address the issue in its entirety. “In the military domain, this is to prevent and counter any attempt to alter the status quo at the LAC (Line of Actual Control),” he said.

He expressed hope that resolution for the balance friction points will be found through dialogue. Regarding the balance areas, where disengagement has not yet happened — including Hot Springs, Depsang Plains, and Demchok — Pande said, “they can only be resolved through dialogue” and added, “it is good that we are talking to and engaging with each other.”

However, he added, “it cannot be a one-way affair. Efforts should be made from both sides”. He called the resolution of the situation on the border with China one of the top challenges in front of him as the Army Chief. The second “imperative” he said, is the “efforts for modernization, transformation, and restructuring of the Army.”

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