India-China Standoff: CDS General Rawat says military options on table if LAC talks fail


India’s CDS (Chief Defense of Staff) General Bipin Rawat has explicitly stated that a military option to deal with transgressions by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in Ladakh is on the table, but will be exercised only if talks between the two armies and the diplomatic option are unfruitful.

“Transgressions along the LAC occur due to differing perceptions about its alignment. Defence services are tasked to monitor and carry out surveillance and prevent such transgressions turning into intrusions. Whole of government approach is adopted to peacefully resolve any such activity and prevent intrusions. Defence services always remain prepared for military actions should all efforts to restore status quo along the LAC do not succeed,” General Rawat told the press. 

“Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and all those responsible for national security are reviewing all options with the objective that PLA restores status quo ante in Ladakh,” he said.

The CDS, who was Army Chief during the 73-day military standoff in Doklam against the PLA in 2017, also dispelled the notion that there is a lack of coordination among the principal intelligence agencies. He said that India has a vast front-line along the northern and western borders along with the Indian Ocean Region, all of which require constant monitoring. 

According to him, while India is still working towards acquiring round-the-clock capabilities to monitor its areas of interest, there is regular interaction between all agencies responsible for collection and collation of information. The apex multi-agency centre has been meeting on a daily basis, he pointed out, and constantly keeping everyone informed of the situation on the ground in Ladakh or any other area of interest.

On Saturday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met with the NSA and the three service chiefs to discuss the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh. China has built up its presence along the LAC in Ladakh, with India deploying heavily to match its northern neighbour.

Takes between the two armies and also a diplomatic dialogue are on to first totally disengage and then de-escalate, but the PLA is seen to be dragging its feet as the issue has a domestic political resonance.