India’s National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval created a storm with his veiled threat, apparently aimed at China and Pakistan, stating that the country would not only fight from its own territory but also on foreign soil if it becomes a source of security threat.
The NSA’s remarks raised many eyebrows, with many linking the threat to China, with whom India is locked in a tense stand-off over Ladakh.
“It is not necessary that we only fight where you want to. India will take the battle to where the threat originates,” the Times of India quoted Doval saying, referring to the war doctrine of ‘New India.’
His comments marked a paradigm shift in India’s strategic thinking – to act proactively to neutralise a security threat. The country’s long-held belief in the doctrine of ‘not being the first aggressor’ is being frequently challenged by the new administration.
In June this year, Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hinted at the country changing its ‘no-first-use’ policy for nuclear weapons, in view of heightened tensions with the neighbours.
“India has strictly adhered to this doctrine (nuclear no-first-use). What happens in future depends on the circumstances,” Singh had tweeted.
The war of words between the leaders of India and China heated up recently, with Chinese premier Xi Jinping saying, “It is necessary to speak to invaders in the language they know: that is, a war must be fought to deter invasion, and violence must be met by violence.”
The fiery threats from both sides heated up after the Indian and Chinese troops locked themselves in a heightened face-off along the Line of Actual Control, near the Himalayan region of Ladakh, where 20 Indian soldiers were killed this year.
Earlier, reports, based on a video uploaded on a Facebook page belonging to a Rishikesh-based ashram called ‘Parmarth Niketan’, said Doval had warned China during the function and had said India will “fight where the threat emerges”.
“You said that we have never attacked,” Doval purportedly said in the video while addressing Chidanand Saraswati, the head of the ashram. “There are views about it, that if there was danger from somewhere, we should have done it. To save the country is essential. But that we will fight only where you want to fight is not necessary,” he reportedly said.
“We never became aggressors to serve our personal interests. We will surely fight, on our soil as well as on foreign soil, but not for our personal interests,” Doval said.