Pakistan continues to be the focus of the Indian Army even as it is engaged in a standoff with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, said Chief of the Army Staff M.M. Naravane in his annual presser on Tuesday. The COAS further added that an amicable solution with China was likely to happen.
Naravane, in a clear and unambiguous message to Pakistan and the world, said that Pakistan is continuing to use terrorism as a tool for achieving its state objectives. “Before giving out the situation on the northern front, I would like to briefly touch upon the western front. Pakistan continues to embrace terror and terrorism as an instrument of state policy. However, we are very clear that we have zero tolerance for terror and we reserve our right to respond at a time and place of our own choosing and with precision. This is a clear message that we have sent across that we will not tolerate any such kind of activity”, the COAS said, in what can be considered a strong warning to Pakistan and its ISI and GHQ Rawalpindi-backed deep state to be prepared for an offensive act from the Indian military, in case of any terror attack found to have emanated from Pakistan’s borders.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan by way of a series of steps taken in the last few months, where it has ‘arrested’ terror chiefs, has been trying to create a perception that it is serious about the issue of tackling terrorism.
“Coming to the northern front, it is not only eastern Ladakh, but we have maintained a high state of alertness all along the northern borders as of now, keeping the threat perception in mind. We have gone in for a winter posture and deployment. But, as I said, we are alert and ever-ready to meet any challenges. Eight rounds of talks between the Corps commanders have taken place. We are now awaiting
the date of the ninth round of talks. I am sure that through dialogue and discussion, we will be able to reach an amicable solution based on the principle of mutual and equal security and in consonance, with the talks and the understanding which resulted as the outcome of the meetings between the respective defense ministers and foreign ministers, and I am very hopeful of the positive outcome,” Naravane said.
Commenting on the measures adopted by the Army in view of the double challenge that the organisation faced last year in view of Covid-19 and Chinese aggression, the COAS said that the forces carried out a pragmatic assessment of the situation and then instituted necessary force protection measures under “Op Namaste”.
“Detailed instructions were passed from the Army Headquarters as well as through the medical channel on what measures need to be instituted. Along with that, we also gave a free hand to our local commanders to institute all measures that they deemed fit in their respective areas and garrison and I’m very happy to say that as a result of all this, we were able to maintain our operational preparedness and as events unfolded during the course of the year, we needed our units and formations to be deployed at short notice. These measures instituted, right from February onwards, paid handsome dividends,” he said.
In what is likely to come as a reassurance for experts who have been raising concerns about the lack of equipment for the Indian troops, the COAS said that the army bought a lot of weapons and assets due to the fact that they got the required budget.
“We have signed a number of contracts last year and these range from weapons and protective gear for the Infantry, Mechanized Forces, firepower elements, Long Range Vectors, engineers’ stores equipment, communication equipment, etc. What I mean to say is that there has been all-round development and each Arm and Service has got what they need. Because we are only the sum of our individual parts and it is only when everyone is modern that the entire force will be modernized. I’m also glad to say that more than 80% to 85% of the contracts which are signed are made by Indian companies as part of our efforts to indigenise and in keeping with the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s call for Aatmanirbhar Bharat. We have got the necessary budgetary support to keep pace with our modernization plan. We have also got the necessary budgetary support for the contracts that were signed as part of the acquisition plan, and for which we are thankful to the government and the Hon’ble Finance Minister for supporting us,” he stated.