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India faces real threat from chemical, biological and nuclear weapons says army chief

India tests ‘anti-smog gun’ in Delhi to combat air pollution Reuters

India faces a real threat of non-state actors using chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, warned the country’s army chief.

General Bipin Rawat said those threats emerging from weapons of potential mass destruction have become a “reality”, forcing the security establishment to take necessary precautionary measures.

While speaking to reporters on Friday, 12 January, just days ahead of Army Day celebrations, the Indian army chief said even India’s adversaries could employ non-state entities to inflict heavy damages on the country with fewer resources.

“The threat of the use of CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) weapons is indeed becoming a reality particularly from the non-state actors. Use of CBRN weapons could jeopardise life health property and commerce, and then take a long time to recover,” said Rawat.

He was responding to questions related to India’s security threats emerging from neighbouring nations and the US’ recent decision to suspend military aid to Pakistan, New Delhi’s de facto nemesis in the region.

Refusing to comment on the actual development on Washington’s decision, Rawat said: “We’ll have to wait and see” regarding the repercussions. He just added that terrorists are “disposable commodities” in Pakistan and the Indian side should work towards punishing those extremist elements.

In 2017, Indian forces were locked in multiple standoffs with Pakistani and Chinese forces in restive border areas. Tensions in the frontier regions have been unusually high in the past year and have accompanied by high-decibel war of words from all sides.

Asked about the territorial tensions with Beijing in recent months, Rawat said: “China is a powerful country but we are not a weak nation,” and then added: “We will not allow our territory to be invaded by anyone.”

Rawat had also said the Indian administration is undertaking a multi-pronged approach in handling China, which has aggressively been asserting its positions in the border recently despite sovereign claims by other states.

The top military general said: “We are not getting into alliances but we are seeking support of other group of nations in the region so that we are not isolated against an assertive China. We are looking at diplomatic, military and partnering with countries in the region. We cannot let our neighbourhood drift away from us.”

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers walk during night patrol near the fenced border with Pakistan in Abdullian, southwest of Jammu Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

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