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Expect the unexpected and prepare accordingly: Rajnath to Army commanders

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh poses for a group photo with Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt, Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan, Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande and others during the Army Commanders' Conference, in New Delhi, Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has commended the Army for its high standard of operational readiness and said "war preparedness" should be a continuous phenomenon and that the military should always be ready for the uncertainties.

In an address to the top commanders of the Army on Wednesday, Singh, referring to the situation in eastern Ladakh, expressed full confidence in the force to effectively confront any contingency even as he noted that the ongoing talks between the two sides for peaceful resolution of the row will continue at all levels.

The defence minister complimented the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for carrying out an "incomparable improvement" of road networks in areas along the Western and Northern frontiers while working under difficult conditions.

Singh said the present "complex and ambiguous" global situation affects everyone and called on the Army top brass to "expect the unexpected" and plan, strategise and prepare accordingly.

The defence minister said that unconventional warfare will be part of the future conventional wars as it is evident in the recent conflicts happening in various parts of the world.

The five-day Army Commanders' conference that began on Monday in Delhi has been focusing on bolstering the force's overall combat capabilities considering the possible national security challenges, including along the frontier with China.

The defence minister said modernisation of weapons for every soldier through "Atma Nirbharta" (self-reliance) is the key focus of the government.

"Defence diplomacy, indigenisation, information warfare, defence infrastructure and force modernisation should always be contemplated in such a forum," Singh told the Army commanders.

"War preparedness should be a continuous phenomenon and we should always be ready for the uncertainties that may crop up any time. We should always be strengthening our fighting skills and weapons technologies so as to act effectively wherever called for," he said.

"The nation is proud of its Army and the government is committed to facilitate the Army in their forward movement, on the road to reforms and capability modernisation," he said.

Referring to the situation along the Western borders, he complimented the Army's response to cross border terrorism. At the same time, he said the proxy war by the adversary continues.

He also hailed the "excellent synergy" among the CAPF (Central Armed Police Forces), police forces and the Army in tackling the menace of terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The synergised operations in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are contributing to increased stability and peace in the region and the same should continue, and for this I again compliment the Indian Army," he said.

Singh especially commended the Army for the "high standard of operational preparedness and capabilities" which the defence minister said he has always been experiencing first hand during his visits to forward areas.

He also paid tributes to all the bravehearts for making the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of the motherland, the defence ministry said in a statement.

In his remarks, Singh also referred to the present "complex and ambiguous" world situation and said it is affecting everyone globally.

"Unconventional and asymmetric warfare, including hybrid war will be part of the future conventional wars and the same is evident in the recent conflicts happening in various parts of the world," he said.

"This necessitates that Armed Forces should keep all these facets in consideration while planning and formulating strategies," he said.

"We must keep learning from the incidents to include the global ones, happened in present as also in the past. Expect the unexpected and thereby plan, strategise and prepare accordingly," Singh added.

Singh also lauded the Army for making significant contributions in military diplomacy to further India's national security interests by creating sustainable cooperative relationships with foreign armies.

He also applauded the Indian Army for the stellar performance by its sports-persons in the Asian Games 2023.

The Army Commanders' conference is also focusing on issues pertaining to organisational restructuring, logistics, administration and human resource management, the statement said.

In his address, Singh said the entire nation looks at the Army as "one of the most trusted and inspiring organisations" in the country.

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