Army chief General Bipin Rawat said he wanted to dispel two myths about the army, that defence expenditure did not give any returns and that it was utilised only for maintaining the military. Photograph: (ANI)
General Rawat said that the Chinese had 'finally arrived' because they did not forget that military power should 'rise simultaneously with the economy'
Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday stressed the importance of the military power rising with the growth in the economy.
General Rawat said that the Chinese had "finally arrived" because they did not forget that military power should "rise simultaneously with the economy". He also said that countries were looking up to India to balance the rise of China.
"Chinese have finally arrived. I can say that. They did not forget that military power should rise simultaneously with the economy, that is why they stand strong today in the international world order, challenging the might of USA," the army chief said.
"After that focus of international community shifted towards Indo-Pacific region. As China has risen, countries have started looking up to India to see whether we can also become a nation that can balance the rise of China. It is all because of China's assertiveness," he added.
The army chief also said that the joint military exercise "Hand-in-Hand" with China would be resumed and that military diplomacy with the country had worked and was moving forward.
"It is an exercise that happens every year. Last year, it was shelved. But this exercise (hand in hand) is back on the cards. We had a meeting again with China, which had not been happening after Doklam. Military diplomacy with China has worked and is moving forward," General Rawat said.
The army chief said he wanted to dispel two myths about the army, that defence expenditure did not give any returns and that it was utilised only for maintaining the military. He said that 35 per cent of the army's budget went into nation building.
"There is a belief that the defence expenditure is actually a burden on the state. They believe that whatever put in defence it is something that comes without any returns. I want to dispel that myth," General Rawat said.
"Is entire defence expenditure being utilised only for maintaining military? This is the second myth I wish to dispel. Almost 35% of our budget goes into nation building," he said.
"If your economy has to rise, you have to ensure security to that establishment that is going to be poured in your country."
The army chief cited the example of infrastructure development on the borders by the military and said that it connected people who live in far areas with the mainland which helped in uniting the nation.
"When we develop infrastructure on our borders, we are connecting the people who live in far areas with the mainland. This helps in uniting the nation," General Rawat said.
Asked about Pakistan, the army chief said that the army had the option of going "to the next level" if Pakistan "raise the threshold any higher". He also said that people in Pakistan were suffering more damage than India was.
"Should they raise the threshold any higher, we have the option of going to the next level. Pakistan is just ensuring that they don't raise the threshold. The people sitting across the border line are suffering more damage than what we are suffering," General Rawat said.
The army chief added that the army wanted a ceasefire on India's terms and that would happen once Pakistan had had enough.
"We have made sure that they also face the same brunt. When they find that they have had enough, then we will be able to call for a ceasefire on our terms. We do not want a ceasefire to be called on Pakistan's terms,""