‘If China Can Get Aggressive, So Can We’: Air Force Chief Says India Fully Prepared to Deal With Violence

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Amid reports of China’s continuous hostility and its construction activities in Arunachal Pradesh, Indian Air Force Chief (IAF) Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Saturday said India can also turn aggressive if Beijing tries to get violent.

Speaking at a press conference in Jodhpur, Bhadauria said, "If they can be aggressive, we can also be aggressive. We are fully prepared."

He said the trainings that are being conducted at the Eastern border, including the current exercise Desert Knight-21, are bilateral exercises that are not part of exercises against any country. “It is to develop the capability and improve bilateral ties. If it is not being seen it does not mean it is not happening. Several trainings are also being done there," he was quoted as saying by ANI.

Reacting to reports that China has made constructions in Arunachal Pradesh, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a statement last week said that India has kept a constant watch on all developments having a bearing on India's security and has stepped up border infrastructure including the construction of roads and bridges.

"We have seen recent reports on China undertaking construction work along the border areas with India. China has undertaken such infrastructure construction activity in the past several years," the statement said.

"In response, our government too has stepped up border infrastructure including the construction of roads, bridges etc, which has provided much needed connectivity to the local population along the border," it added.

However, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has claimed that China's development and construction activities "within its own territory" is "normal" and beyond reproach.

"China's position on the Zangnan region (South Tibet) is consistent and clear. We never recognised the so-called Arunachal Pradesh," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying told a media briefing while responding to a question.

China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet, while India's consistent stand has been that the northeastern state is an integral and inalienable part of the country. Hua said China's development and construction activities "within our own territory is normal." "This is beyond reproach as it is in our territory," Hua added. In a report, NDTV news channel showed two images of the area in Arunachal Pradesh where it said a new village has been set up by China and it consisted of about 101 homes. According to the channel, the first image dated August 26, 2019 did not show any human habitation but the second one of November 2020 shows a row of structures.

India and China have held several rounds of military and diplomatic talks to resolve the face-off in eastern Ladakh, but no significant headway has been made so far.