Asserting that there would be no compromise with the nation’s security and sovereignty, new Chief of Army Staff, Gen Manoj Mukund Narvane today said the Indian Army would take appropriate action if it got an order from Parliament to reclaim Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
“There is a parliamentary resolution that entire Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India. If Parliament wants that area (PoK) should also be ours…if we get any direction, we will definitely take appropriate action,” he said at a press conference here.
He was obviously referring to a resolution adopted by both Houses of Parliament in 1994 which demanded that Pakistan vacate the areas of J&K (PoK) which it has occupied through aggression.
During his maiden press conference, the Army Chief dealt with all major issues confronting the force, including the threat from China and Pakistan, the creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and the country’s defence preparedness.
Gen Narvane said both the Northern and Western borders were equally important for India and accordingly re-balancing of deployment of the forces was being carried out. On the lingering border dispute with China, he noted that the two countries have held several rounds of talks to resolve it. The priority was to maintain peace and tranquility along the border.
He noted that some forward movement has been there in the boundary talks during the talks between Special Representatives (SRs) of the two countries. He said the armies of the two countries would soon have a hotline between them. He said six Apache attack helicopters would be provided to an Army unit on the Western borders where there was a greater threat from armoured columns.
In response to a question, the Army Chief said the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan was very active. Intelligence reports were received on a daily basis and they were looked into seriously. Due to this alertness, the Indian Army has been able to foil many attempts at infiltration and cross-border terrorism by Pakistan’s Border Action Team (BAT).
On his recent visit to Siachen, Gen Naravane said, “As far as land borders are concerned, this (Siachen) is where the two countries—China and Pakistan—are the closest. So the chance for collusivity is the most. Here and in Shaksgam Valley.”
The Army Chief said the armed forces owed their allegiance to the Constitution and were fighting to protect the core values of equality and fraternity, enshrined in the Preamble. Asked if he agreed with his predecessor Gen Bipin Rawat’s statement on the students’ protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), he said the Army’s role was to uphold the core values.
“We respect the fundamental rights of the citizens. If we remember this, then we will not go wrong in the discharge of our duties. We are an Army of the people, for the people and whatever we do, will be for them.” The focus of the force, he said, was on ‘ABC’- “allegiance, belief and consolidation.”
Gen Naravane termed the creation of the post of CDS as a ‘very big step’ towards the integration of the three services saying the Army would ensure its success.