• Eyal Pinko

China is the 'Biggest Security Threat,' according to the Indian Defense Chief

According to Defense Chief General Bipin Rawat, China has become India's top security challenge, and the tens of thousands of troops and weaponry that New Delhi rushed to safeguard its disputed Himalayan border last year will not be able to return to base for a long time.

The border issue between the nuclear-armed neighbors is being hampered by a lack of "trust" and growing "suspicion," Rawat said late Thursday. The 13th round of border talks between Indian and Chinese military leaders ended in a stalemate last month, with neither side able to agree on how to withdraw from the boundary.

After the bloodiest India-China warfare in four decades erupted this summer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration turned its strategic attention away from long-time enemy Pakistan. Last June, a conflict along the 3,488-kilometer border killed twenty Indians and at least four Chinese soldiers in hand-to-hand combat.

According to Rawat, China and India have been building infrastructure, troops, and military weapons along the disputed Himalayan border since then. "India is prepared for any mishap along the border or at sea," he said.

His remarks echoed India's Foreign Ministry's condemnation of fresh Chinese buildings in territories claimed by both countries. He mentioned that the Chinese construct communities along the Line of Actual Control, the disputed but de facto border between the two countries, probably for billeting and locating their people or troops in the future.

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