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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

India reserves right to ‘preemptively strike’ at sources of terror: New Army Chief warns Pakistan

The government has stuck to the seniority principle in appointing Lt Gen Naravane as the next chief as he is the senior-most officer in the Army after Gen Rawat.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 31, 2019 9:09:21 pm
Indian army chief, bipin rawat, bipin rawat retires, new ar,y chief, General Manoj Mukund Naravane, General Manoj Mukund Naravane army chief New Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane after taking charge (PTI Photo/Atul Yadav)

Giving a strong signal to Pakistan, new Army Chief Mukund Naravane on Tuesday targetted Pakistan saying their repeated denial on use of terrorism as state policy won’t last long.

“Our neighbour is trying to use terrorism as a tool of state policy, as a way of carrying out a proxy war against us. While maintaining deniability. However, this state can’t last long, as they say, you can’t fool all the people, all the time,” said Narvane in an interview to ANI, hours after taking charge as the Chief of Army Staff.

In a stern message to Pakistan, he also said “India reserves the right to preemptively strike at sources of terror threat” if the neighbouring country does not stop state-sponsored terrorism.

On a question about the abrogation of Article 370, Gen Naravane said the Pakistan Army’s all-out efforts to deflect attention from state-sponsored terrorism has been a total failure and that the “situation in Kashmir has improved significantly after the abrogation of Article 370”.

Asked how he will deal with Pakistan backed terrorism, he said, “Multiple options across the spectrum of conflict are on the table to respond to any act of terror sponsored or abetted by Pakistan.”

On security challenges along the 3,500 km border with China, Gen Naravane said the focus has shifted from the Western border to the Northern border as part of re-balancing priorities. “We will continue to improve capability building along the Northern border so we are prepared when the need arises,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Naravane took charge as the Chief of Army Staff, succeeding General Bipin Rawat.

The government has stuck to the seniority principle in appointing Lt. Gen. Naravane as the next chief as he is the senior-most officer in the Army after Gen. Rawat. He will serve till April 2022, when he turns 62.

General Naravane had taken charge as the Vice Chief on September 1; before that, he headed the Eastern Command of the Indian Army.

In his nearly four decades in the Army, Lt Gen Naravane has worked in key appointments in active counterinsurgency environments, both in the Northeast and in Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Army. He was also part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka during Operation PAWAN in 1987.

He has been decorated with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal during his career. He was also the Inspector General of Assam Rifles (North) in Nagaland. He also commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion in Jammu and Kashmir and an infantry brigade on the eastern front.

An alumnus of the National Defence Academy, Lt Gen Naravane was commissioned into the 7th Battalion of The Sikh Light Infantry Regiment in June 1980. Hailing from Pune, his father, Mukund Naravane, had retired from the Indian Air Force, and his mother, Sudha Naravane, was a writer and news broadcaster with All Indian Radio in Pune. She died last year.

Bipin Rawat, who retired on Tuesday as the Army chief, is set to take over as the first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

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