“We are Resolved to Show ‘Zero Tolerance’ to Terror”

India will “come out victorious” in case of war with China, war stays only as an “instrument of last resort”, General M.M. Naravane said during a press conference, ahead of Army Day celebrations on January 15, 2022

Issue 6 - 2021 By Neetu DhuliaPhoto(s): By Indian Army
General M.M. Naravane, Chief of the Army Staff, continues to lead from the front as the Indian Army faces unprecedented challenges on all fronts and undergoes restructuring and modernisation.

Indian Army Chief General M.M. Naravane, addressed the Annual Press Conference, ahead of the Army Day on January 15, where he apprised the media about the country’s military preparedness and the current status at the borders.

This was the first Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Annual Press Conference, to be conducted virtually, due to the COVID pandemic and was also hosted Live on the YouTube Channel “ADGPI-INDIAN ARMY”.

General Naravane, the 28th Chief of the Army Staff, took charge on December 31, 2019 for a 28-month tenure. Helming the 1.3 million-strong force, his tenure has witnessed a robust reaction and response of the Indian Army, amidst the unprecedented and challenging Covid situation, evolving security challenges, and restless borders.

We are resolved to show ‘Zero Tolerance’ to terror, he stated, the whole of ‘government approach’ has led to a progressive improvement of the situation in the Jammu and Kashmir.

“Indian Army has maintained the highest levels of operational preparedness along the Northern Borders and will continue to deal with situations in a firm, resolute & peaceful manner while ensuring the sanctity of our claims”, he said addressing the media.

“Indian Army has maintained the highest levels of operational preparedness along the Northern Borders and will continue to deal with situations in a firm, resolute & peaceful manner while ensuring the sanctity of our claims”

Army Chief General Naravane reiterated that India will “come out victorious” in case of war with China and added that the war stays only as an “instrument of last resort”. “We are well prepared to meet any challenge that is thrown at us. Major efforts are undertaken to see what all dual-use infrastructure is there which can be made use of. Necessary safeguards are in place to take care of any contingencies. Up-gradation and development of infrastructure along the northern borders have been carried out holistically and comprehensively.” He added, “We will continue to deal with the Chinese PLA firmly and resolutely. We have continued to maintain the highest level of operational preparedness while at the same time engaging with the Chinese PLA in dialogue.”

Clarifying China’s new land boundary law, he said “the law is not binding on us. It is neither legally tenable nor in keeping with our bilateral agreements in the past. As such, we do not accept it.”

Regarding Pakistan, General Naravane mentioned that Pakistan continues to harbor around 400 terrorists at the border launch pads and terror-training camps, exposing its nefarious designs despite the ongoing border ceasefire, but the Indian Army is determined to impose dire costs on any cross-border terrorism. He added, “We are not averse to the demilitarisation of the Siachen Glacier but the precondition is for Pakistan to accept the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL). Pakistan has to accept what are their positions and what are our positions.

General M.M. Naravane during his opening remarks at the Annual Army Day Press Conference 2022.

“Owing to our high standards of training, professional expertise & reliable defence technology, an increasing number of Friendly Foreign Countries have shown keen interest in engaging with us”. COAS mentioned that there is a considerable increase in Defence Cooperation activities.

Regarding future-readiness and procurements, he added that the Indian Army is committed to the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and has prioritised its procurement from the Indian Industry. Significant steps have been taken on leveraging Drones for logistics support, Artificial Intelligence,5G, and Quantum Technology to gain an edge over the adversaries. “Present situation demands new technology and equipment and we should not be found wanting, shall the need arise,” he stated regarding the emerging technology and Swarm Drones, which were part of the Army Day parade last year.

“We will continue to deal with the Chinese PLA firmly and resolutely. We have continued to maintain the highest level of operational preparedness while at the same time engaging with the Chinese PLA in dialogue.”

He stressed that the Indian Army stands fully committed to collective integration and synergy and that the establishment of Theater Command is being deliberated upon in consultation with the other services.

He referred to the permanent commission being given to women in the Army and said, “Army is fully ready to admit women cadets and preparations are underway to induct them from June 2022”. The Army Chief also said common training for both men and women officers at the Officer Training Academy (OTA), Chennai, has ensured “all-around improvement in standard”.

He also mentioned that the first batch of women soldiers of the Corps of Military Police have completed their training and have joined their units.

He closed his remarks by appreciating the role of Media, “Military and Media have equal roles in building a great nation!”