Ex-India Army chief Naravane says 2020 Galwan clashes with China were ‘not a bad thing’

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Naravane implied that the bloody episode finally made India realise that China is its number one threat and that the country is now more aware

Former Indian Army chief Gen Manoj Naravane has said the 2020 Galwan Valley clashes between the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) were “not a bad thing.” According to him, the bloody episode made India realise that China is its number one threat. Noting that the country is now more aware, he said only time will tell who actually commanded the PLA to stir border tensions with India, at a time when the world was reeling under the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who orchestrated the 2020 clashes?

Speaking at WordsCount literature festival held in the north Indian state of Rajasthan on Saturday (Feb 10), Naravane said, “Why they did what they did is a question which continues to confound us. Especially because they did it when the world was in the claws of the Covid pandemic.”

He stressed it was highly unlikely that the decision to provoke the Indian Army through well-planned territorial incursion was made at the local level.

“Had to be something which had to be coordinated much higher up. Whether that much higher up is at the level of their Western Theatre Command or right up to the Politburo (of the Chinese Communist Party), that time will tell,” he said.

‘Not a bad thing’

Naravane further said the 2020 clashes turned out to be a good thing for India.

“What has happened is not a bad thing. Because for a very long time, we were shying away from calling out China as the No 1 threat,” he was quoted as saying by The Print website.

He also called out the previous policy of New Delhi to refer to China as “our friend to the north”.

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“We were always hoping that by being decent and conciliatory and agreeing to what they are saying, they would return that favour in full measure and also give us the respect that is due. So obviously that was not coming… as a result of activities of 2020, we are more focused now on where the threat actually lies,” the former army chief said.

The 2020 border clashes between India and China

The 2020 border clashes between India and China erupted after the PLA stopped the Indian side from building a road in the Galwan River valley, on the Indo-Tibet border.

According to the Indian government, the bloody clashes ended with 20 casualties on the Indian side and more than 40 deaths on the other. However, China claimed just four of its soldiers died in the incident.

(With inputs from agencies)