No Reduction Of Troops On Border With China, Says Army Chief Gen Naravane

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Ajay Banerjee

Hoping for a positive and amicable solution from the military talks with China, Army chief Gen MM Naravane on Tuesday said the forces were alert and ready to meet any eventuality.

Gen Naravane was addressing the annual press conference here ahead of the Army Day on January 15.

The General said they are “ready to meet any challenge as the operational preparedness is of high order”, adding that “we will maintain our current positions and that were is no reduction of troops from either side along the Line of Actual Control (LAC)”.

On the potential of the two-front war, the Army Chief said Pakistan and China form a potent collusive threat, and their alliance is part of our strategic calculus and planning.

While making his opening remarks, the Army chief said the Army is alert all along the northern borders, not just in Ladakh.

The ninth round of talks is awaited and he hoped to reach a solution.

“I am hopeful for a positive situation, but we are ready to meet any eventuality and all logistics like clothing and habitat (housing) have been taken care of. Our operational preparedness is of high order,” he added.

His words come even as armies of India and China are locked in an intense military stand-off in eastern Ladakh since April-May, 2020.

On being questioned about the mobilisation by China in summer of 2020, the Army chief said it was nothing new, they came for usual training in the areas, and that the Indian army is ready.

“They had the first mover advantage in May, and we had the first mover advantage in August,” he added.

On Pakistan, the Army chief said it continued to embrace terrorism as a state policy. “We have zero tolerance for terror, and we reserve the right to respond at the place and time of our choosing and with precision,” he said.

“The Army is in the middle of restructuring and are transforming from manpower to technology-intensive force, and we are looking at blockchain, big data, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. We are fully committed to various integrated commands. We will calibrate for smooth transition,” he said.

The Army chief said land surpluses like those from the soon-to-be closed military farms would be used to seek infrastructure of equal value.

On a recent report on stress in the military, he said the report was not based on an adequate sample size.

They had only 400 samples; to get 99 per cent accuracy, the sample size should have been 19,000. With small sample size, the report could not be seen an increased stress, he added.

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