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We won’t leave Siachen: Army Chief

Army Chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane, addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday, January 11, 2020.

Army Chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane, addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Saturday, January 11, 2020.   | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

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Gen. Naravane's comments come in the backdrop of concerns about the politicisation of the Army.

Siachen is the closest point for ‘collusivity’ between China and Pakistan, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said on Saturday, adding that the Army was rebalancing its weaponry to the northern borders.

Addressing his first annual press conference as Chief of Army Staff ahead of Army Day, Gen. Naravane outlined his vision and asserted that the armed forces “swear allegiance to the Constitution of India, whether it is a jawan or an officer”. “As said in the preamble: ‘justice, equality and fraternity’. That is what we are fighting for... when we are fighting on the border, it is to secure this for all,” he said. His comments come in the backdrop of concerns about the politicisation of the Army.

Stressing on the importance of the Siachen glacier, Gen. Naravane said, “That is one area which faces the western and northern fronts... we should not lose sight that it’s one place where collusivity can happen. So we should keep control.”

Elaborating, he said as far as land borders were concerned Siachen was where China and Pakistan were the closest. “So the chance for collusivity here is the most. Here and in Shaksgam valley,” he stated.

Two front war

Asked if India was prepared for a simultaneous two-front war with China and Pakistan, Gen. Naravane said the Army was conscious of the fact that India has threats “both on the western and northern side.” In case of a simultaneous threat, there would be a ‘primary front’ and a ‘secondary front’, he said.

“Our forces will be concentrated on the primary front and we will adopt more deterrent posture on the secondary front so that we are not found wanting,” he observed, adding that the Army had formations with ‘dual tasking’, enabling them to move between the western and eastern borders.

Speaking of the northern borders, the Army Chief said they were rebalancing advanced weaponry to the northern borders. “At one point of time it was more towards the western font. Now we think both the borders are equally important. It is in that context that the rebalancing is taking place.”

He said post Wuhan summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, differences on the border were being settled at the lowest level. After the strategic guidelines, small differences were sorted locally and not allowed to escalate, he stated.

To a question on recent statements about India taking back Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), Gen. Naravane referred to a Parliamentary resolution dating back in time that the entire erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir belongs to India. “If Parliament wishes that it be ours and we get a directive, we will act on it,” he said.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 11:42:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/creation-of-cds-a-very-big-step-towards-integration-of-forces-army-chief/article30542294.ece

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