The role played by the Indian armed forces during the Doklam episode and the Galwan Valley clashes not only enhanced India’s prestige but also raised its stature globally, Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen C P Mohanty said on Sunday. Addressing an event, he spoke extensively on the key ethos of the Indian armed forces and highlighted their major contributions during the 1965 war, 1971 war and the Kargil conflict.
Citing recent events, Lt Gen Mohanty said, “What has happened in Doklam and Galwan not only enhanced the prestige of the nation, but it has also given us a big stature internationally.” “Today everyone talks about India as a net security provider,” he said at the event organised by Vivekananda Institute of Professional Studies (VIPS). “It is not going to be long when we also start being counted amongst the superpowers,” he added.
The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 that even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. Indian armed forces put up stiff resistance to China’s construction of a road in Doklam near the trijunction. The dispute was resolved through several rounds of talks.
The Indian Army blunted “vicious” Chinese attacks in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15 last year in eastern Ladakh. Twenty Indian Army personnel laid down their lives in the clashes with Chinese troops that marked the most serious military conflicts between the two sides in decades.
In February, China officially acknowledged that five Chinese military officers and soldiers were killed in the clashes with the Indian Army though it is widely believed that the death toll was higher. In his address, Lt Gen Mohanty said India has invested in its security forces and they have been playing a key role in the overall development of the country as security is a key aspect of prosperity.
He emphasised that allocation towards the armed forces is part of the nation-building process. Lt Gen Mohanty also complimented Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman for his role in thwarting a Pakistani offensive a day after the Balakot strikes in February 2019.
“He held his head high and become a symbol of today’s youths,” he said. The Vice Chief of Army Staff also referred to reports of how Pakistan was forced to release Varthaman as the neighbouring country knew that India would surely attack it if he was not released.
“That was how he was returned with dignity,” Lt Gen Mohanty said. Varthaman was captured on February 27, 2019, by Pakistan following a dogfight between the air forces of the two countries in which his MIG-21 was shot down.
Before his jet was hit, he downed an F-16 fighter of Pakistan. Varthaman was released on the night of March 1, 2019, by Pakistan.