New Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Tuesday lauded China’s military prowess, saying the neighbouring country “arrived well before the intended time than we had thought they would arrive.” Rawat said that China, along with its economic rise, also focused on military modernisation. Notably, China is the second largest economy in the world and last week, Beijing unveiled its largest defence spending increase in three years, setting an 8.1 per cent growth target this year.
“They have arrived well before the intended time than we had thought they would arrive,” Rawat said at an event organised by the Vivekanand India Foundation. With China unveiling its largest defence spending increase in three years, it has fuelled an ambitious military modernisation programme and making its neighbours nervous. “While China ensured that their economy must rise, they did not forget the rise of their military power. They ensured that while their economy was developing, the military power must rise simultaneously and that is why they are strong today in the international world order challenging the might of the United States of America, which was until now the sole security provider,” he said.
Rawat said the world looks at India as a country that can balance the rise of China in the region as it was showing its “assertiveness”. Rawat also said strong economic growth is only possible with a strong defence. “We cannot become the net security provider if the economy does not keep pace with the changes,” Rawat said.
Meanwhile, Rawat also said that India has depended on the import of weapon, but it is now focusing on manufacturing weapons in the country with the transfer of technology. The reliance of the armed forces has also been on ordnance factories but the picture is now changing. “We have always depended on the import of equipment in our country. And therefore, what happened was, we did not allow the indigenous industry to develop,” Rawat said.
To step up defence production within the country, India is looking at collaborating with other nations, he said. Rawat added that the Request for Information (RFI) has been issued for nine types of very high-quality ammunition so that they can be manufactured in our country with the transfer of technology.