In a direct attack on Pakistan and China, Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday (January 12) said that both these countries form a “potent” threat, and the “threat of collusivity” is always there.
Addressing his annual press conference, General Naravane said, “Pakistan and China together form a potent threat and the threat of collusivity cannot be wished away,” adding “Pakistan continues to embrace terrorism. We have zero-tolerance for terror. We reserve our right to respond at a time and place of our own choosing and with precision. This is a clear message we have sent across.”
The Army Chief added, “We did so and came out on the top. The main challenge was COVID-19 and the situation at the northern borders… We have maintained a high state of alertness all along the northern borders. We are hoping for a peaceful solution but are ready to meet any eventuality. All logistics are taken care of. A broad roadmap has been prepared to bring in all the new technologies to develop a technology-enabled army to meet challenges of future.”
Referring to the issue of security challenges at the Line of Actual Control, Naravane said a need was felt about “rebalancing” of troops along the northern borders, adding “that is what we have put in place now.”
General Naravane expressed hope that India and China will be able to reach an agreement for disengagement along LAC in Eastern Ladakh, adding “I am confident of finding a solution to the issue on the basis of mutual and equal security.”
Meanwhile, General Naravane ruled out any plans of sending troops on the ground in Afghanistan, reaffirming New Delhi’s long-standing policy of “no boots on the ground”. “As far as Afghanistan is concerned, there are no plans whatsoever to commit boots on the ground and neither do we envisage such a scenario developing in the near future,” he said.
It may be recalled that in 2017, the then Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had ruled out presence of Indian troops on the ground. At that time, US President Donald Trump wanted India to send its forces to Afghanistan.