Hours after taking charge of as the Army chief on Tuesday (December 31), General Manoj Mukund Naravane issued a stern warning to Pakistan, saying India reserves the right to pre-emptively strike at sources of terror threat if the neighbouring country does not stop state-sponsored terrorism.
In an exclusive interview to PTI, General Naravane said a strategy of “resolute punitive response” has been evolved to punish cross-border terrorism. Stating that Pakistan Army’s efforts to deflect attention from its state-sponsored terrorism has been a complete failure, he said the situation in Kashmir has improved significantly after the abrogation of Article 370.
“The Pakistan Army’s proxy war design received setback due to elimination of terrorists and decimation of terror networks (by India),” he said. On dealing with Pakistan-backed terrorism, he said, “Multiple options across the spectrum of conflict are on the table to respond to any act of terror sponsored or abetted by Pakistan.”
“There are ceasefire violations, we are aware that there are terrorists on the other side in various launch pads waiting to cross over but we are fully prepared to meet this threat,” he said during an interview to news agency ANI.
On security challenges along the 3,500 km border with China, General Naravane said the focus has shifted from the Western border to the Northern border as part of re-balancing priorities. “We will continue to improve capability building along the northern border so we are prepared when the need arises,” he said.
“Transgressions are occurring due to differences in perception on where the Line of Actual Control lies. Post Wuhan Summit, strategic directions were issued on how to maintain peace on the border. As its result, there has been a lot of improvement at the ground level,” he added.
Referring to the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff, he said it will greatly change the way the defence establishment operates and will bring about significant reforms in the entire military system. His main focus as Army chief will be to make the Army ready to face any threat at any time, the general said.
According to General Naravane, the bottom line for reform in the Army will be to increase efficiency and operational readiness.
“Due to my experience in Army, particularly last couple of tenures, I have been able to get a good idea of not only the training part but also the operational part. So, I feel most important is to continue to maintain high standards of operational readiness,” he said.
(With inputs from agencies)