Some disputes not for Army to settle: Indian Army Chief-designate for peace on border


AT AN Idea Exchange with The Indian Express in Pune in April this year, Army Chief-designate Lt Gen Bipin Rawat had said the Army “wants to maintain peace and tranquillity” on the border, and that China being aggressive was “a perception”.

He had also stressed on the need for the Army to be more open with information, especially to the media.

Asked about the trust deficit between India and China and incidents of transgressions, Rawat, who was at the time General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Southern Command, headquartered in Pune, and yet to be named vice-chief of Army staff, said, “There may be disputes on the border which are not for armies to settle. There are parts which are claimed by both sides. The perceptions are varying. Yet, at the level of armies, we want to maintain peace and tranquillity. We don’t want to initiate a war just because there are differences. So this Track-II diplomacy is also needed in the form of military exercises. China being aggressive is a perception.”

He suggested that “transgressions” happened from both sides, due to differences over the border. “When they come into our territory, those overtures get portrayed in the media. When we go into their territory, there is no media. On our side, we have become open to the media and so these things are reported,” Rawat said.

Speaking about allegations of excesses by the Army under AFSPA, Rawat said the Act “had been toned down in real practice”. “We need to understand why AFSPA is in place in areas which have insurgency or terrorism issues. Police have powers to arrest and search, we don’t. When the Army is deployed in such areas, we are given these powers which police have under the CrPC. Now, under such scenarios, we also need safeguards. But AFSPA in its original format has been toned down in real practice.

Read more: India names new military, spy chiefs