Jaipur: Singh was attending a session titled ‘The Elephant and the Dragon: A Connected History’ along with historian Tansen Sen and former foreign secretary Shyan Saran at the 16th edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival.
Talking about China’s pattern of “breaking its promises”, Singh, who is also a former governor of Arunachal Pradesh, noted that the country should not be trusted as it “says something and does something else”.
“There have been agreements in 1993, and 1996. These agreements say peace and tranquillity on the border and also talk of confidence-building measures.
“It also says you can’t increase troops in your border area more than 20,000, but what they did in Galwan, they brought in two-three divisions. They are smart, we have to be smarter than them,” Singh noted.
“Our armed forces are capable of giving them a bloody nose if they try to do any more misadventures now. They got a bloody nose in Galwan, they were stopped in their tracks in Dokalam. They were similarly told to go back in Tawang,” he added.
When asked about China’s technological superiority over India, Singh claimed that Indian forces are better equipped to fight in the Tibetan region.
“The Chinese are not used to fighting in the battlefield Tibet. Our aeroplanes can carry full loads and bomb China or Tibet. Their soldiers are not used to a rarefied atmosphere, they carry oxygen bottles.
“Mainland China is 1000-2000 km away, our mainland is 400km away. So I would say we are equal to China in every way. We will defend our country,” he said.
The session moderated by historian William Dalrymple looked at India and China’s collective history divided majorly into three periods: the rise of Buddhism in China, the relation between the two countries from 1949 to 1962, and where the neighbours stand at present and what is the road ahead.
The retired army general said the only way forward is through dialogue and discussions.
“If India and China get on to a constructive engagement, I believe that is the only way forward.
“Dialogue, discussions and a constructive relation can redefine the contours of the world equations of power because this is the century of India and China,” he said.