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CDS General Bipin Rawat: We stay far away from politics, very far

In his first interaction with the media after assuming charge as CDS, General Rawat said his primary task is to enhance integration and synergy between the three services -- Army, Air Force, Navy.

Newly appointed Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat arrives for a joint military guard of honor after assuming office in New Delhi. (AP)

Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said the country’s armed forces “stay far away from politics” and act only on the directions of the Government in power.

In his first interaction with the media after assuming charge as CDS, General Rawat said his primary task is to enhance integration and synergy between the three services — Army, Air Force, Navy.

“I want to assure you, that the Army, the Navy and the Air Force will work as a team. The CDS will keep control over them, but action will be taken through teamwork,” he said. “1+1+1 should not become three, it should become five or six. It should be a sum of the whole, it should be more than the sum of the whole.”

India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat inspects the Guard of Honour at South Block lawns in New Delhi. (PTI)

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Asked about establishment of theatre commands, Gen Rawat said, “There are methods of doing theaterisation, I think we all are copying western methods and what others have done. We can have our own systems. We will work out mechanisms through understanding with each other and I think it will work.”

On allegations that the Army was being politicised and questions being raised by the Congress over the creation of the CDS’ post, General Rawat said: “We stay far away from politics, very far. We have to work according to the directions of the Government in power.” The Congress on Tuesday had raised several questions over the appointment of Gen Rawat as the CDS, saying the government has started on a “wrong foot”.

When asked how he felt about taking charge as CDS, he said: “My head is feeling lighter because, I have had to take off that angled Gurkha hat that I have been working with for 41 years, I have come back to this peak cap that I am wearing which is to say that we are now neutral. Will be neutral to all the three services.”

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India’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) Gen Bipin Rawat places a wreath at the National War Memorial in New Delhi. (PTI)

On Tuesday, he said the Indian Army is better prepared to meet the challenges at Pakistan and China border. “Yes, they are better prepared. I thank all the soldiers of the Indian Army who supported me in the last three years of my tenure,” PTI quoted him as saying.

Conveying his wishes to his successor Lieutenant General Manoj Naravane, General Bipin Rawat said, “Hope Army will rise to greater heights under the new Army Chief.” The outgoing Army Chief also thanked all the army personnel and their families for extending full support to him during his three-year tenure at the helm of the 1.3 million-strong force.

After a farewell Guard of Honour, Gen Rawat also exuded confidence that the Army will rise to greater heights under the new Chief of Army Staff Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane.

First published on: 01-01-2020 at 10:56:13 am
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