New Delhi: In an effort to keep peace and tranquillity along the borders, India and China have agreed to set up a military hotline between Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) and Western Theatre Command (WTC) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, said Indian Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Saturday.
General Naravane said that the proposal for the hotline has been accepted by both sides after all procedural issues were resolved.
During an annual press conference, the Army Chief said: “As far as the hotline between India and China is concerned, proposals have been in the pipeline for a long time. The proposal has been accepted and procedural aspects have been ironed out. I am glad to say that we have now resolved the issue.”
The hotline faced several roadblocks in the past because of the differing views of both sides. The Indian Army had been maintaining that this hotline should be between its DGMO and his equivalent in the PLA. China, however, proposed that as the Western Theatre Command is responsible for the front with India, therefore its commander should engage with the Indian DGMO.
Both sides see hotlines as a necessity for better interaction between their armies and to defuse tensions caused by differing perceptions of the Line of Actual Control.
General Naravane also stated that both borders, including Northern and Western, are equally significant and stressed that the advanced weapons systems are being deployed and infrastructure improved along the Chinese border.
“At one point of time it (advanced weapons system) was more towards the Western front (Pakistan). Now we think both borders are equally important. It is in that context that the rebalance is taking place,” General Naravane said.
He also emphasized balancing the threat along the eastern front. The Army Chief vouched on capacity building such as roads, habitat, and storage for ammunition in the East.
Talking about Siachen, he said that the post is strategically important. “That is one area which faces the western and northern fronts. We should not lose sight that it’s one place where collusivity can happen. So we should keep control.”
He said as far as land borders were concerned, Siachen was where China and Pakistan were the closest. “So the chance for collusivity here is the most. The same with the Shaksgam valley,” he stated.