In Ladakh, the Threat Has by No Means Reduced: Chief of Army Staff Gen. M. M. Naravane

Gen. M.M Naravane addressed annual press conference ahead of the 74th Army Day. For the first time, the Army Day press conference was held in a virtual format. It was for the first time that the Army held this press conference in a virtual format. In his opening remarks, he said there have been positive developments, both, along our northern and western borders. Below are the highlights of the press conference.

  • Regarding the Ladakh border situation, he said, “On the northern borders we have continued to maintain the highest levels of operational preparedness, while at the same time engaging with the PLA through dialogue.”
  • “After persistent joint efforts, mutual disengagement has occurred at many locations. While there has been partial disengagement, the threat by no means has reduced and the force levels are more or less the same, from our side they have been enhanced.”
  • Regarding the tensions with Pakistan, he said, “The Director General of Military Operations’ (DGMOs) understanding was aimed at achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace…but not withstanding that there is an increase in concentration of terrorists in various launch pads and there have been repeated attempts at infiltration across the LC.”
  • Calling the Nagaland incident ‘regrettable’, where security personnel opened fire on civilians in December, Gen. Naravane said that the incident was being investigated and that the Army stands committed to the security of the countrymen even during the conduct of operations.
  • Regarding the overall Northeastern theatre, he said that the overall security was under control. “The robust security posture has significantly curtailed the operational space for terrorists and in keeping with the improved situation there has been a graduated de-induction of Army units.”
  • “On the India-Myanmar border, a new impetus is being given to the border guarding role by the Assam Rifles and here we do intend to progressively increase the number of Assam Rifles battalion deployed for border guarding.”
  • Regarding the Integrated Capability Development plan, he said, “We are still at the ICAD stage, formulating the mission objectives and the capabilities that we would like to have without going into specific numbers. This is being done so that the capabilities that we have to acquire are seen holistically as a threat from one country or from one border and not as individual service, specific threats.”
  • Regarding demilitarisation of Siachen Glacier, where India has deployed troops for over three decades against Pakistan, he said, “We all know the situation at Siachen Glacier occurred because of unilateral attempts by Pakistan to change the status quo.” He added, “We are not averse to demilitarisation of the Siachen Glacier (where Indian and Pakistani troops are face to face all along the glacier), but a precondition of that is to accept the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL). Pakistan has to accept what are their positions as well as our positions and both the sides have to sign on the dotted line before any kind of disengagement takes place.” He said that this was quite parallel with what was happening in Eastern Ladakh.
  • Regarding theatre commands he said, “There will have to be much greater synergy between the three services. This was also one of the recommendations of the Kargil review committee and it was based on that, that headquarter IDS was formed…and the post of the CDS was created. All this shows that the need for theatre commands is a given. It has to be there if we have to win wars of the future.” He added, “As far as the Army is concerned, we are carrying out deliberations.”
  • Regarding quantum technologies the Chief said, “Recently, during my visit to Mhow, I had gone to their Quantum and AI lab.” He added, “This is another emerging technological field that the Army is actively engaged in.”
  • In terms of drone warfare, he said, “We will not be found wanting in drone warfare when the need arises.”

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