NEW DELHI: The Indian Army maintains a "professional stance" in warfare and would rather open fire than resort to "wielding clubs," said former Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane in a reference to the Chinese army engaging in fisticuffs with Indian soldiers in Galwan valley and most recently in Arunachal's Tawang. General Naravane asked if the Chinese army (People's Liberation Army) has gone down to the level of "prehistoric times" by using "clubs and barbed wires".
His remarks came days after the Chinese army attempted to change the status quo on the Line of Actual Control in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh on December 9 through a faceoff with the Indian troops, in which they were pushed back by the Indian Army without suffering any casualties. "We would still like to maintain that we are a 21st-century Army. To start going back to clubs and barbed wires is going back to prehistoric times. It is a very regressive way of going. We would still like to maintain that in warfare also there are certain rules. It is not that you do whatever you want to do. We would still like to maintain a professional stance. Therefore, rather than resort to wielding clubs, we rather open fire," he said in 'Podcast with Smita Prakash'.
"That is how an army fights by using the weapons at your disposal and not getting into fisticuffs. Are we hooligans or mafia? We are professional. Is that the level PLA has gone down to? Hooliganism and streetfighting? Or they are a professional 21st-century army? On one side they try to show their technological prowess, on the other side they are coming with barbed wire clubs. It is ridiculous," the former Army Chief said. Talking about the Galwan valley clash in 2020 in which 20 Indian soldiers lost their lives and several Chinese soldiers were also killed, General Naravane said that the Indian Army countered them in the same way that was used against it.
"Although we did not fire, we also resorted in a similar vein. It was always a question of who will open fire first. Since we felt that we had the measure of the PLA troops over there, we also countered them in the same way that they were taking action against us which was basically by the use of non-lethal, that is not actually firing, although casualties did occur. They were carrying sticks and we were also carrying sticks," he said. Asked what went through his mind when Colonel Santosh Babu and his men were killed in the Galwan clash in 2020, General Naravane said that the soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice died in the line of duty.
"Any casualty of course hurts you. Every man is your man or son or daughter as a chief or a battalion commander. So any such news come, obviously you feel saddened. On the other hand, you also feel that what they have done is in the line of duty. They have certainly given as good as they got," he said.