Guwahati: There is “omnipresent danger” to the stability of South Asia due to China’s ambitions for power at the global level, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat said here on Saturday.

“China’s ambition of emerging as global power is making deep inroads in South East Asia and Indian Ocean Region,” Rawat said, addressing the keynote address at 1st Ravi Kant Singh Memorial Lecture titled “Assam at crossroads: Geopolitical events its Geographical events in its neighbourhood impacting North East India” at Assam Administrative Staff  College at Khanapara here.

That country’s dealings with Myanmar and Pakistan and its foray into Bangladesh are also not in India’s interests, Rawat said.

“Myanmar and Pakistan are the largest recipients of military hardware from China. They receive support in global fora from China,” he said. 

Gen Rawat said China’s continuous support for Pakistan by providing military equipment to facilitate violence in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir is a clear anti-India stand. 

Naming China as one of the five countries projected to be Asia’s representatives in being an economic super power, Gen Rawat said that China, India, Japan, Turkey and Indonesia will be on the list of the top 10 economies of the world by 2030. 

“India sees huge geopolitical competition in the region by China in creating a favourable strategic posture to provide sufficient security to its overseas interests,” he said.

India has had historically good relations with Myanmar and Bangladesh, General Rawat said and added that over the past few years, these two countries have been the largest recipients of military-grade weapons from the Chinese.

China’s continuous support to Pakistan and investment in other countries are a threat to India, he said.

Gen Rawat said India faces a myriad of external security challenges and most worrisome are China’s technological advances in the cyber and space domains.

Stating that Buddhist refugees in Bhutan have been a concern for the security of the Northeast, he said there were instances of them sheltering various insurgent groups in Bhutan’s soil.

“India-Bhutan relationship has always been robust. The cooperation between the two countries is constantly on the rise. India has been extending its assistance to Bhutan for industrial development, telecommunication and education. But the Buddhist refugees of Nepalese origin have been a cause of concern for India, as they have been allowing various insurgent groups to use Bhutan’s soil against India,” he said.

General Rawat, however, added that Bhutan has addressed all the issues India has concerns with. 

The CDS emphasised the good relations that India has with Nepal and Sri Lanka, but over the recent years have received a tremendous influx of Chinese investments to build community projects and infrastructure. He warned that China’s relations with India’s neighbours, specifically with Bangladesh and Myanmar, is not in India’s favour, as there’s a possibility of escalated military dangers threatening India’s territorial integrity. 

“However, Myanmar has been maintaining good relationship with India and the neighbouring country wants to be with India,” he said.

The 1st Ravi Kant Singh Memorial Lecture Series was organised in memory of senior IPS officer Ravi Kant Singh, who was killed by ULFA militants in Tinsukia on May 16, 1996.

Singh was the superintendent of police then and was responsible for a number of counter-insurgency operations in the district.

High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Vikram K Doraiswami also graced the occasion. The lecture was inaugurated by Chief Secretary Jishnu Baruah. DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta gave the welcome address.

Also read: Continuous clashes in Myanmar pushing more refugees into Mizoram



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