Says India, China to have a hotline ‘very soon’
In a provocative statement, India’s Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Friday said the force was ready to call Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and cross the border to carry out any operation if asked by the New Delhi government.
“We will call the [nuclear] bluff of Pakistan. If we will have to really confront the Pakistanis, and a task is given to us, we are not going to say we cannot cross the border because they have nuclear weapons. We will have to call their nuclear bluff,” Hindustan Times quoted Gen Rawat as saying.
He was responding to a question during a press conference on the possibility of Pakistan using its nuclear weapons in case the situation along the border deteriorates.
To another question, he said India and the US were deliberating on a proposal to appoint military liaison officers at each other’s combatant commands.
“We are examining various dimensions of the proposal,” he said.
Moreover, he said a hotline will be set up between the Indian and Chinese armies very soon.
“It is moving very fast. Very soon we will have a hotline with the Chinese side,” he said.
He said both India and China were very keen on having a hotline between the Indian Army’s Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) and the Chinese officer holding similar position.
The Indian Army chief said a hotline will help resolve incidents such as transgressions along the border promptly. “We are very keen to start the hotline. The Chinese are also very clear,” he said.
It is crucial to note that, currently, India and Pakistan have a hotline between their DGMOs.
To a question on procurement of Spike anti-tank missile from Israel through government-to-government route, he said such a proposal was being considered.
In November, India’s defence ministry had decided to retract the process to acquire a batch of Spike missiles from Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defence Systems.
Subsequently, the ministry had asked premier defence research laboratory DRDO to develop similar missiles with indigenous technology.
Gen Rawat, however, said the government was considering procuring the missile system from Israel using the government-to-government route.