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Insurgency will be dealt with an iron fist, says Army Chief

A WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT: Chief of the Army Staff Gen. J.J. Singh speaking to students who gave him a traditional welcome on his visit to the Kazhakuttam Sainik School in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday. Photo: S. Gopakumar  

Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief of the Army Staff Gen. J. J. Singh said here on Saturday that the armed forces were pursuing an "an iron fist in a velvet glove" policy in the troubled areas of the North East and Jammu and Kashmir. The "iron fist" was reserved for misguided elements and the "velvet glove" for innocent civilians caught in the "crossfire," he said.

Interacting with students at Sainik School, the General said he was seeking the best possible compensation and perks for Defence personnel so as to keep their motivation level high.

He said the Army took pride in being a secular, apolitical and professional organisation. "When we go into battle, we are brothers in arms. When we fight together, no soldier asks the comrade standing next to him where he hails from."

He said the Army's fight was against divisive forces threatening the country. "Our cause is just and we fight to win. In war, there is only the winner. Unlike in sports, there is no silver medal for the runner's-up place," he said.

The Army was a way of life, which offered challenges of combat leadership and scope for adventure. "It is not a 10-to-5 white-collar job. When you are an officer leading men, you are always on call," he said. It is the most satisfying job for any person who aspires to be an officer and a gentleman.

The element of surprise was key to success in combat and personal life. He called upon students to shun "the stereotyped, routine and the usual" and stock pleasant surprises for their loved ones. He said discipline in personal life helped students meet taxing deadlines and ensured quality output.

The General arrived at the school in an Army helicopter with his wife, Anupama Singh.

He paid homage to Col. Neelakantan Jayachandran Nair, an alumnus of the Sainik School and recipient of the Keerthi Chakra and the Ashok Chakra who died fighting insurgents in Nagaland on December 20, 1993.