India will handle China's growing assertiveness and has stepped up patrols on their disputed border to head off more standoffs, the country's top army officer declared yesterday.
The nuclear-armed neighbours have in the past gone to war over their border and last year were involved in a showdown over a Himalayan plateau claimed by China and Bhutan which is an ally of India.
Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat said a military hotline was being set up between the two sides but insisted his troops are ready for new tensions.
"We understand China is a powerful country but we are not a weak nation," Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat told a press conference when asked about the border dispute.
"We have increased our troop levels... we have increased our patrolling intensity. We are capable of handling China's assertiveness.
"We will not allow our territory to be invaded upon. Whenever intrusions take place we will defend because that's there in our charter."
Hundreds of Chinese and Indian troops faced off last year on the Doklam plateau.
Rawat said Indian soldiers crossed into foreign territory during the standoff but only because Chinese forces had "big equipment and they meant business".
"We knew they will try and claim the whole of Doklam. We felt a change in the status quo..(but) all effort was made by us to ensure it does not lead to a conflict. Even if it would have escalated we were prepared (as) the terrain usually favours us," he said.