Indian Army Chief Addresses Press on Security Measures and Agnipath Scheme

In a press conference held on January 11, 2024, Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande addressed various issues, emphasising the importance of local support in the Rajouri-Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir.


Army Chief General Pande acknowledged concerns about the situation in the region over the past five to six months and highlighted the need for community engagement. He asserted a “zero tolerance” policy for human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir, emphasising the Army’s commitment to respect for human rights.


Regarding the Agnipath scheme, General Pande reiterated that its final framework was developed after an iterative process and consultations. He declined to comment on his predecessor’s remarks about the scheme taking the armed forces by surprise and emphasized the need to move forward.


General Pande provided an update on the current status of the scheme, stating that the integration of Agniveers in units is progressing well, despite some challenges in training and management issues.


Addressing the security situation, General Pande outlined measures being taken to improve intelligence, both human and technical, in Jammu and Kashmir. He emphasised the importance of outreach to the local population and the deployment of additional forces in the troubled areas.


The Army Chief highlighted ongoing efforts to enhance technical intelligence capabilities, improve synergy with other agencies, and use technology effectively in counterterrorism operations.


On the northern border with China, General Pande characterised the situation as “stable but sensitive.” He mentioned ongoing talks with China to address balance issues and maintained that operational preparedness is high, with robust and balanced deployment.


Concerns were raised about the Indo-Myanmar border, with General Pande noting that activities of the Myanmar Army and insurgent groups have led to personnel crossing over to India. He assured a close watch on the situation and mentioned the deployment of Assam Rifles Battalions.


In response to tension in Manipur, General Pande highlighted positive developments in the Northeast due to proactive government policies. He mentioned that the combined efforts of the state administration, Army, and Assam Rifles have stabilised the situation in Manipur, and efforts are underway to normalise the region and ensure stability.



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