Indian Army Chief Affirms High-Level Operational Preparedness in Press Conference Preceding Army Day
Speaking to the media at the annual press conference ahead of Army Day, the Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande assured that operational preparedness remained at a high level with a robust and balanced deployment of forces. In response to emerging challenges, General Pande remarked on the induction of new technologies and the restructuring of artillery and enhanced electronic warfare units. “As part of emergency provisions, we have been able to induct some new technologies and address domains of warfare. We have inducted better vehicles, drones, and counter-drone systems. “We have terrain-specific electronic warfare systems,” General Pande said. “We have restructured our artillery unit. We also have restructured units of electronic warfare and electronic intelligence. We have started the process of reducing animals in our animal transport units and they are being replaced by drones. We have the plan to optimize our strength by significant numbers. By 2027, we will achieve an optimization of 1 lakh numbers. We have given the proposal to the government,” General Pande added.
He also commented that the integration of Agniveers into the Army is moving forward well.
Situation Along Indo-Myanmar Border
He expressed his concern over the situation at the Indo-Myanmar border. Speaking on the matter General Pande commented on the impact of activities by the Myanmar army and ethnic armed organizations. He reported that there are incidents of Myanmar army personnel and Bhutanese civilians seeking shelter in Indian territories.
“There are some of the insurgent groups who are feeling the pressure and who have now attempted to come onto our side of the border in Manipur. That, combined with the situation in Manipur is something we are keeping a close watch on,” he said. General Pande mentioned that India has close to 20 Assam Rifle Battalions deployed at the Indo-Myanmar border. There is talk regarding further strengthening our fence along the border.
Situation In Jammu And Kashmir
Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, General Pande said there has been a drop in overall incidents of violence in Jammu and Kashmir. However, such incidents have increased in the Rajouri-Poonch sector. Notably, the sector has always remained vulnerable to terrorist activities.
“The situation and terrorist activities in Rajouri and Poonch in the last 5-6 months have been an issue of concern to us. By 2003, terrorism in this area was fully disseminated, and peace was established there till 2017-18. Because peace is coming in the valley, our adversaries are encouraging proxy tanzeems in the area,” General Pande said.
Further commenting on the situation in the state, General Pande noted the continued adherence to the ceasefire understanding along the Line of Control (LoC) was in place. Despite infiltration attempts, the Indian Army continues to successfully thwart efforts, he said. He attributed the Indian Army’s success to a strong anti-drone mechanism that worked to prevent the smuggling of weapons and narcotics.
Indian and Chinese troops are locked in an over three-year confrontation in certain friction points in eastern Ladakh though both sides completed disengagement from several areas following extensive diplomatic and military talks. “We continue to talk both at the military and diplomatic levels, as per established protocols and procedures to find a resolution to the balance issues which remain,” said General Pande. As per his comment, the situation along the Northern border, particularly Ladakh, is “stable yet sensitive”.
The press conference was held in New Delhi on January 11.