FIRST RAVI KANT SINGH MEMORIAL LECTURE
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 to emerge as a global power is making inroad into South East Asia and Indian Ocean Region," Rawat said. He said this in his keynote address at the first Ravi Kant Singh Memorial Lecture titled "Assam at crossroads: Geopolitical Events in its Neighbourhood Impacting North-East India" at Assam Administrative Staff College at Khanapara here today.
China'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.
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 superpower, Rawat said China, India, Japan, Turkey and Indonesia will be on the top ten 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 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 China. China's continuous support to Pakistan and investment in other countries are a threat to India, he said.
Stating that refugees in Bhutan have been a concern for the security of the Northeast as there are instances of them sheltering various insurgent groups on Bhutan's soil.
"India-Bhutan relationship has always been robust. 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 soil against India," he said.
General Rawat, however, added that Bhutan had addressed all the issues worrying India.
The CDS highlighted the good relations that India has with Nepal and Sri Lanka. He, however, said that over the recent years, they received tremendous Chinese investment 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 a good relationship with India and the neighbouring country wants to be with India," he said.
China's investment into Pakistan is a clear intent of their partnership but supporting state-sponsored terrorism in the Kashmir region is an obvious anti-India stand and a threat to India's international interests, he added.
The first Ravi Kant Singh Memorial Lecture series was organized 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 and was responsible for several 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.