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China's tech advances in cyber, space domains most worrisome: Gen. Bipin Rawat

BENGALURU (PTI): Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Friday said India faces a myriad of external security challenges and most worrisome are China's technological advances in the cyber and space domains.

He was speaking at the three-day Indian Air Force Conclave, that was inaugurated by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru, to commemorate 50-years of victory in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, which is being celebrated this year as 'Swarnim Vijay Varsh'.

"India faces a myriad of external security challenges with deep regional inter-linkages, marred by legacy of unresolved boundary disputes, culture of competition, and challenge to undermining India's strategic space," Rawat said.

He said, India is also witnessing geo-strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific, including race for strategic bases in the Indian Ocean region, and increasing militarisation of Belt and Road outposts in the region by northern adversary China.

"Most worrisome are China's technological advances in the spheres of cyber and space domain, which often transcend beyond the military, to include critical national infrastructure as well," he said, adding that the recent incidents on the northern borders along with aggressive posturing will remain a cornerstone of China's expansionist foreign policy of which India has to always be wary about.

On Pakistan, the CDS said that its continued sponsoring of cross border terrorism, a vicious anti-India rhetoric on social media, and efforts to create social disharmony within India, makes the trust gap between India and that county appear to be "unbridgeable".

Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Chief Marshal V R Chaudhari, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, and Karnataka Revenue Minister R Ashoka, among others, were present at the event.

Pointing at how things have changed in the world since 1971, Ajay Kumar stressed the need to be prepared "manyfold more", to face today's security scenario.

Noting that the situation in Galwan was effectively controlled by prompt and effective action by India's armed forces, he, however, said the position on the LAC continues to be tense, and the fact that India's adversary continues to ramp up both infrastructure and assets across the border remains a matter of concern.

"We continue to see increased activities of China and disputes which it is unilaterally claiming to be its own in the South China Sea," he said, as he also spoke about cross border proxy war and facilitation of terrorism, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir, by Pakistan, and the situation in Afghanistan having potential for new challenges which could happen at any point of time.

Kumar, also highlighting that China has moved towards jointness and theatre commands, said, it has spelt out in its operational doctrine that it wants to be "no more a regional power, but a world class military power."

China has aimed for itself to complete military modernisation by 2035 and to be a world class military by 2049, he said.

Pointing out at the changes in the way war is fought with new technologies by influencing cyber and space, he said, "today we have non-conventional ways of fighting war and we need to be prepared for it."

The Defence Secretary also said "Air Force has been taking up modernisation in the last 4-5 years. In the last 5 years, Rs 2.5 Lakh crores has been spent on modernisation of the Indian Air Force."


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