India Prepared for Two-front War, Says Air Chief Marshal Bhadauria amid Border Tension with China

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Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria on Monday said that India is prepared for any conflict, including a two-front war. "We have deployed strongly in Eastern Ladakh. We are ready to take on the Chinese threat in Eastern Ladakh," he said. Addressing a press conference ahead of Air Force Day on October 8, Bhadauria asserted that the Air Force was transforming at a rapid pace.

“Matrix of threat facing country is complex”, he said, while adding that "emerging threats mandate us to have robust capabilities of the IAF.” He said that while India has not come close to an airstrike against China, it is still prepared for it. The induction of Rafale jets has given us an operational edge, he added.

His comments assume significance as India and China are engaged in a five-month-long standoff at the LAC in eastern Ladakh. Despite several levels of dialogue, there has been no breakthrough and the deadlock continues.

"A lot of what happens in Eastern Ladakh depends on talks. The progress is slow, but there is a clear intent on both sides," he said.

However, the threat of a two-front war has intensified as ceasefire violations made by Pakistani troops at the LoC reached a record 17-year high. News18 had reported last month that a report tabled in the Parliament on the first day of the Monsoon Session found 3,186 ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army this year along the Indo-Pak border from January 1 and September 7. Besides this, 242 incidents of cross-border firing took place at the international border during the said period. The record ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army coupled with recent aggressions by Chinese troops deepened the threat of a two-front war for India.

The border stand-off with China since clashes with the PLA army resulted in the deaths of 20 soldiers in Galwan Valley in June. The Chinese soldiers used stones, nail-studded sticks, iron rods and clubs in carrying out brutal attacks on Indian soldiers after they protested the erection of a surveillance post by China around patrolling point 14 in Galwan Valley. China in September said its five soldiers were killed in the clash during military and diplomatic talks with India at Moldo, said government sources. A top government source in South Block aware of the talks had told News18 at the time the actual Chinese toll would be much higher.

Last month, both countries reached a five-point consensus to resolve the four-month-long military standoff in eastern Ladakh, agreeing to "quickly disengage" troops, avoid any action that could escalate tensions and take steps to restore peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). In a meeting between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in Moscow, the Indian side clearly conveyed that it expected full adherence to all agreements on the management of border areas and would not countenance any attempt to change the status quo unilaterally, as per sources.