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Army chief hails 370 axe

General Naravane continues the trend of India’s army chiefs commenting on political matters

By PTI in New Delhi
  • Published 16.01.20, 3:05 AM
  • Updated 16.01.20, 3:05 AM
  • a min read
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Gen. MM Naravane (PTI photo)

The army chief on Wednesday lauded the abrogation of Article 370 provisions as a “historic step” and said it had disrupted the plans of the “western neighbour and its proxies”, making an allusion to Pakistan.

General M.M. Naravane’s comments continue the trend, started by his predecessor Bipin Rawat, of India’s army chiefs commenting on political matters.

He said India’s armed forces had “zero tolerance against terrorism”, speaking at an Army Day event in Delhi Cantonment.

“We have many options to counter those who promote terrorism, and we will not hesitate to use them,” he said. “(The) abrogation of (key provisions of) Article 370 is a historic step. It will prove important in integrating Jammu and Kashmir into the national mainstream. This decision has disrupted the plans of our western neighbour and its proxies.”

Recently, Naravane had said the army would “take action” to reclaim Pakistan-occupied Kashmir “if we get orders to that effect”.

On Wednesday, he said the country had to face several security challenges last year, including the “proxy war and other situations”.

“Whether it is the LoC (Line of Control with Pakistan) or LAC (Line of Actual Control with China), we have ensured security with activeness and strength,” he said. He stressed that the situation along the LoC was linked to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

Mentioning his visit to Siachen last week, he said he was happy to see all the ranks brimming with confidence.

On the insurgency in the Northeast, he said the army and the Assam Rifles had worked together and “the situation has improved a lot”.

He said the forces’ “eyes are also on future warfare” and that the army’s planned Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) were an important step towards facing upcoming challenges. He said the army’s “niche capabilities” were being enhanced.

Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year to mark Lt Gen. K.M. Cariappa taking over as commander-in-chief of the army in 1949 from General Francis Butcher, the last British commander-in-chief of India.

Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria, navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, were present at the event.

Captain Tania Sher Gill, the first woman parade adjutant, led all-men contingents during the parade, drawing praise from senior officers and loud cheers from the audience, which included members of the diplomatic corps.