Updated: October 29, 2020 5:52:31 am
Lauding the Army for its high standard of operational preparedness, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday expressed confidence that while the soldiers are standing firm on the ground at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the talks for peaceful resolution of the ongoing India-China standoff will continue.
Addressing the Army Commanders’ Conference, Singh also paid tribute to the 20 soldiers killed in hand-to-hand combat with Chinese troops on June 15 in Galwan Valley, in which an undeclared number of Chinese troops had also died.
The Army said in a statement that Singh, “commenting on the current situation along the Northern borders… expressed confidence that while troops are standing firm, the ongoing talks for peaceful resolution of crisis will continue”.
He complimented the forces “for the high standard of operational preparedness and capabilities which he experienced firsthand during his visits to forward areas” and “paid tributes to the bravehearts of Galwan, Kashmir and the North East for making the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of the motherland”, the statement said.
“It is our national responsibility to ensure availability of best weapons, equipment and clothing to our troops braving extreme weather and hostile forces to defend our territorial integrity,” the statement quoted him as saying.
The Defence Minister lauded the efforts of the Border Roads Organisation “working under difficult conditions to connect far-flung areas”.
Regarding the Western border facing Pakistan, Singh lauded the Army’s “response to cross border terrorism and ceasefire violations” and commended the “excellent synergy between” the central forces, the police and the Army “in tackling the menace of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir”, the statement said.
“It is due to the synergised operations in the valley that the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is moving to a stable and peaceful environment conducive for overall growth and development,” Singh said.
The statement said Singh also appreciated the Army’s role in the fight against Covid-19 and stated that “actions of Indian Army truly ensure the integrity and sovereignty of our great nation”.
The Army Commanders’ conference is an “apex level biannual event”, currently being held from October 26 to 29. Army Chief General M M Naravane and the other senior Army officers attending the conference are “comprehensively deliberating upon all aspects of existing security scenarios, situation along the borders and in the hinterland and challenges for the present security apparatus”, the Army statement said. The Army leadership is also focusing on “issues pertaining to organisational restructuring, logistics, administration and human resource management”, it said.
During his address, Singh said creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff and the Department of Military Affairs “is a momentous decision in Indian history and the concept of Integrated Battle Groups, Integrated Theatre Commands and Integrated Air Defence Commands will be game changers in the way Indian Armed forces fight future wars”.
Mentioning the setting-up of Defence Cyber and Space Agencies, Singh said they will enhance the kinetic potential of the forces.
“There are no budgetary constraints for capability development and meeting other requirements of the Army,” Singh was quoted as saying.
He also said that the move to grant permanent commission to women in the Army — ordered by the Supreme Court earlier this year — is “another significant decision that will ensure equal opportunities for professional growth to all officers irrespective of their gender”.
He reiterated the government’s stand to corporatise the Ordnance Factory Board.
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