Will keep present place, no discount of troops, says Military Chief on border disaster with China

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 12

“We are alert and ready to meet the challenge,” said Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane while addressing the annual press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday.

This was ahead of the Indian Army Day (January 15).

Hoping for a positive and amicable solution from the military-to- military talks with China, the Army General said, that they are “ready to meet any challenge as the operational preparedness is of high order”, adding that “we will maintain our current positions, and that were as no reduction of troops from either side along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)”.

On the potential of the two-front war, the Army Chief said Pakistan and China form a potent collusive threat, and their alliance is part of our strategic calculus and planning.

While making his opening remarks, the Army Chief said that the Indian Army was alert all along the northern borders, and not just in Ladakh.

The 9th round of talks were awaited, and he hoped to reach a solution.  

“I am hopeful for a positive situation, but we ready to meet any eventuality and all logistics like clothing and habitat (housing) has been taken care off. Our operational preparedness is of high order,” he added.

His words come even as armies of India and China are locked in an intense military stand-off in Eastern Ladakh since April-May 2020.

On being questioned about mobilisation by China in summer of 2020, the Army Chief said it was nothing new, they came for usual training in the areas, and that they were ready.

They had the first mover advantage in May, and we had the first mover advantage in August, he added.

On Pakistan, the Army Chief said it continues to embrace terrorism as a state policy. We have zero tolerance for terror, and we reserve the right to respond at the place and time of our choosing and with precision, he said.

The Army was in the middle of restructuring and are transforming from manpower to technology intensive force, and we are looking at blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. “We are fully committed to various integrated commands. We will calibrate for smooth transition,” he said.

On land use and monetization, the Army Chief said the land surpluses like those from the soon-to-be closed Military farms will be used to seek infrastructure of equal value.

On a recent report on stress in the military, Army Chief said the report was not based on an adequate sample size.

They had only 400 samples, to get 99 percent accuracy, the sample size should have been 19,000. With small sample size, the report cannot be seen an increased stress.

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