A day after he said India reserves the right to pre-emptively strike at sources of terror in Pakistan, new Army Chief General M M Naravane expressed confidence that maintaining peace and tranquility along India’s border with China will set the stage for an “eventual solution” to the boundary dispute.
Speaking to mediapersons Wednesday after receiving his first guard of honour as the Army Chief, General Naravane said operational readiness and modernisation will be among the top priorities of the Army under his leadership.
“While we have been paying attention in the past to the Western front, Northern front also requires equal attention. It is in that context we are going for capability development and enhancement of our capacitors in our Northern borders including the North-East part of the country,” he said.
“The border question is yet to be settled. We have been able to maintain peace and tranquility along borders and I am sure that situation will prevail. By maintaining this, we will be able to set the stage for the eventual solution,” he said.
Highlighting the priorities of the Army under him, General Naravane said: “The priorities will always remain to be ever ready to meet any challenge and to be operationally prepared at all times. This will happen as a result of modernisation. We will continue to build up capabilities especially in the North and North-Eastern region of the country. We will also lay emphasis on raising the security awareness amongst rank and file.”
“India can progress (in the next decade) only if our borders are secure… then only will be able to do our work and then only will there be development in the country. I want to assure my fellow citizens that all three defence services — Army, Navy and Air Force — are fully ready and will keep our country secure,” he said.
“The soldiers of the Army deployed on the border are ready and alert 24x7x52. In the coming days, in the future as well, we will continue preparing to take on the future challenges. Our Army is battle-hardened and, in the future as well, is capable of repelling any danger,” he said.
General Naravane took over as Chief of Army Staff Tuesday from General Bipin Rawat who became the country’s first Chief of Defence Staff (CDS).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in Twitter posts, said: “I am delighted that as we begin the new year and new decade, India gets its first Chief of Defence Staff in General Bipin Rawat. I congratulate him and wish him the very best for this responsibility. He is an outstanding officer who has served India with great zeal.”
“As the first CDS takes charge, I pay homage to all those who have served and laid down their lives for our nation. I recall the valiant personnel who fought in Kargil, after which many discussions on reforming our military began, leading to today’s historic development.”