Maintaining that a strategy of “resolute punitive response” has been evolved to punish cross-border terrorism, new Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday issued a strong warning to Pakistan saying India reserves the right to preemptively strike at sources of terror threat if the neighbouring country does not stop State-sponsored terrorism. As for China, General Naravane said India will continue to improve capability building along the Northern border.
General Naravane assumed charge here as the 28th Chief of Army Staff from outgoing chief General Bipin Rawat who handed over the baton to his successor in a ceremony in South Block. He is the third Army Chief from the Sikh Light Infantry after VP Malik and Bikram Singh.
Naravane was serving as the Vice Chief of Army since early September. Prior to that he served as the Eastern Army Commander and Commander Army Training Command (ARTRAC).
“The Pakistan Army's proxy war design received setback due to elimination of terrorists and decimation of terror networks (by India),” he told news agencies after taking charge.
Asked how he will deal with Pakistan backed terrorism, he said, “Multiple options across the spectrum of conflict are on the table to respond to any act of terror sponsored or abetted by Pakistan.”
On security challenges along the 3,500-km border with China, Gen Naravane said the focus has shifted from the Western border to the Northern border as part of re-balancing priorities. “We will continue to improve capability building along the Northernborder so we are prepared when the need arises,” he said.
Referring to the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff, he said it will greatly change the way the defence establishment operates and will bring about significant reforms in the entire military system.
He said his main focus as Army chief will be to make the Army ready to face any threat at any time. According to him, the bottomline for reform in the Army will be to increase efficiency and operational readiness.
An alumnus of the National Defence Academy(NDA) and the Indian Military Academy(IMA), Naravane was commissioned into the 7th Battalion, the Sikh Light Infantry in June 1980. He has commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion in Kashmir, served in the Assam Rifles and has been part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka during 'Operation Pawan'. He has also served as Defence Attache to Myanmar.
He did his schooling at Dnayana Prabodhinee Prashala, Pune. He holds a Master's Degree in Defence Studies, M. Phil Degree in Defence and Management Studies and is currently pursuing his Doctorate.