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‘Will take battle to foreign soil’: Indian NSA Doval hints at new security doctrine


India will fight not only on its own territory but also on foreign soil which becomes the source of a security threat, national security advisor Ajit Doval said in remarks that struck many as significant in the context of the military standoff on the Line of Actual Control.

Addressing the Parmath Niketan Ashram in Rishikesh, Doval said while India has never attacked anyone first, the new strategic thinking holds that perhaps we could have acted proactively to nip security threats. “It is not necessary that we only fight where you want to. India will take the battle to where the threat originates,” the NSA said, summing up the doctrine of what he called “New India”.

Official sources, however, emphasised that Doval was speaking more in the context of civilizational ethos and his remarks were not directed against anyone in the current context. “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. But in the interests of Parmarth spirituality,” Doval said.

“Ours is a civilisation state. It is not based on any religion, language or sect. What cannot be seen, what is the foundation of this nature is its culture,” he added.

However, coming on a day when RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat talked about China’s encroachment, Doval’s remarks struck many as reflecting the government’s intent to apply the doctrine of pre-emption to nip security threats.

Chinese President Xi Jinping put out an equally stirring nationalistic message on the anniversary of the Korean War. “We will never sit back and allow damage to national sovereignty, security and development interests, and will never allow anyone or any force to invade and divide the sacred territory of the motherland. If such a serious situation occurs, the Chinese people will surely attack it head-on,” he said. It could have been about the US, Taiwan or India, the three biggest challenges to China, at present.

China ‘determined to defeat invaders’: President Xi Jinping

In a fiercely nationalistic speech the president says Chinese people will not bend, no matter the challenges faced. While not directly named, analysts say remarks were pointedly aimed at Washington as conflict’s 70th anniversary nears.

President Xi Jinping has said that the Chinese military was determined to defeat invaders and warned against any attempt to divide the nation, in a fiercely nationalistic and pointed speech marking the 70th anniversary of China’s entry into the Korean war against American forces.

Speaking from the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Friday, Xi touted the war to “resist US aggression and aid Korea” from 1950 to 1953 – the only military conflict between China and the United States – as a demonstration of China’s military might against American imperialists. He also called for moves to expedite the modernisation of the country’s defence and armed forces.

“Seventy years ago, the imperialist invaders fired upon the doorstep of a new China,” he said. “The Chinese people understood that you must use the language that invaders can understand – to fight war with war and to stop an invasion with force, earning peace and respect through victory. The Chinese people will not create trouble but nor are we afraid of them, and no matter the difficulties or challenges we face, our legs will not shake and our backs will not bend.”

Xi stressed that “any country and any army, no matter how powerful they used to be would see their actions battered if they stood against the international community. He added that China needed to accelerate its military modernisation to build a world-class military, and to ensure that the ruling Communist Party maintained “absolute leadership” over the military.

“In today’s world, any unilateralism, protectionism, and ideology of extreme self-interest are totally unworkable, and any blackmailing, blockades and extreme pressure are totally unworkable,” he said. “Any actions that focus only on oneself and any efforts to engage in hegemony and bullying will simply not work – not only will it not work, but it will be a dead end.”