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Strong defence posture being maintained at LAC, says Army Chief

Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande during the 75th Army Day celebrations at Govind Swamy Parade Ground in Bengaluru, Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023. A PTI Photo

BENGALURU (PTI): The Indian army is maintaining a strong defence posture along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and is ready to deal with any contingency, Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande has said.

In his address on Sunday at the Army Day celebrations here, which is happening for the first time outside the national capital, he said the northern border region has been peaceful and steps have been taken to maintain peace through established protocol and existing mechanism.

Referring to the situation along the western border, the Army Chief said the ceasefire continues at LOC and there has been a substantial reduction in violations. However, the terror infrastructure still remains on other side of border.

"Our counter insurgency mechanism is effectively foiling the infiltration bid from Pakistan," he added.

Pointing to the attempts to smuggle arms and drugs into Jammu and Punjab border regions using drones, General Pande said counter drone jammers were being used against such activities.

The Indian Army with other security forces is committed to foiling these attempts, he told the gathering.

"Our focuses are also on building goodwill and carry out developmental projects through which we can bring the local population into the mainstream. As part of it, the influential youth are being given opportunities to fulfill their dreams in their profession field of their choice and sports," General Pande said.

Alluding to the security situation in the North East, he said there is improvement in the situation. The army has played a significant role in minimising violence. Many insurgent groups have entered into peace agreement with the government or dialogues in that direction are underway.

According to him, there is an increase in development in these regions and the Army will continue its efforts to empower people and help them prosper in the remote areas.

On reforms in the Indian Army in light of the geo-political situation, Pande said last year, changes were visible in the global security environment. The Russia-Ukraine conflict has clearly proved the importance of disruptive and dual use technologies.

"Information warfare, cyber and space war have emerged as the new domain of warfare. The gray zone warfare too has proved that in the future war and conflict, non-kinetic warfare will be equally important as the kinetic warfare. Because of this, the battle field is becoming more complicated, fierce and dangerous," he underlined.

Being an important component of the comprehensive national power, it is the responsibility of the Indian Army to be ready, General Pande said.

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call for 'Atma-Nirbhar Bharat', the Army chief too emphasised upon indigenisation.

General Pande said that India is standing at the threshold of a new era where one can see the country's increasing dominance in the international forums, economic development and progress.

Accordingly, the country is witnessing the growing aspirations of Indians and expectations of the world community. Because of this, it is essential that the Indian Army be aligned and integrated to meet the national goal and objectives, he pointed out.

Averring that there should be no hurdle in the national progress in terms of security, Pande said the Indian Army has initiated a major process of transformation to promote its operational preparedness.

"We are planning to convert our battle contingents into integrated battle groups, which will contribute significantly in our future wars. Old establishments and units are being disbanded or are being given new shape through appropriate transformation," he said.

According to the Chief of Army Staff, the primary focus will be to ensure that the soldiers are completely ready and equipped to face the challenges in future.

Provisions of modern weapons and equipment are the inseparable part of it, for which the army is committed for indigenous solutions, General Pande said.

"Development through self-reliance will be our new Mantra," he added.

Referring to the 'Make in India' model, he said the army has complete faith in the strength and operational capabilities of Made In India' weapons and equipment. The indigenisation of niche technologies such as artificial intelligence, block-chain, quantum communications, unmanned systems and other directed energy weapons are being done.

"We are confident that the Indian Army will fight and win the future wars with Indian Solutions," he added.

General Pande also told the gathering that the India Army was either terminating or changing those traditions, which are losing significance in order to make its processes and systems more effective and efficient.

Army is also integrating and coordinating with the National Logistic Policies for infrastructure development for the operational preparedness, the Chief of Army staff remarked.

Terming the Agnipath scheme a 'historic' and 'progressive' step in the human resources development, General Pande said, "We have automated the recruitment process. During the recruitment, we got good response from the youth across the country."

The army is using simulators and modern training mechanism to make the training of Agniveers more effective. He further said a strong, transparent and automated process has been developed to select Agniveers.

"After four years of service, the Agniveer will be empowered with desired skills, values and characters, educational qualifications and financial support, which will enhance their capabilities in the society and will make them capable to be good citizens," he observed.

Regarding recruitment of women agniveer, he said the training for the candidates will commence from March this year.

"The Indian Army will continue to empower women. Some important steps have been taken in this direction, which includes opening feeder institutions, permanent commission of women, and increasing the deployment and promotional avenues.

Today our women officers and personnel are serving with pride and confidence at all the operational theatres including Siachen," the Army chief said.

Also, the Indian Army is playing a significant role in the International Defence Cooperation, which includes our training institutes where more than 3,000 officers and personnel of our friendly nations have been benefited, he pointed out.

"Our 11 Indian military training teams are strengthening ties with friendly nations. More than 5,800 UN Peace Keepers are being deployed in eight peace keeping missions."

Earlier, the Army Chief was given a parade salute which was followed by an impressive military drill, horse mounted parade, a daredevil motorcycle display by the ASC Tornadoes, sky-diving by paratroopers, fly past by the Army Aviation Helicopters and Sukhoi Aeroplanes.

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