Adversaries with “hegemonic” designs try altering status quo under false pretexts, but the Indian Army must and will stand up to all external and internal threats, Vice Chief of the Army Staff, Lt General Chandi Prasad Mohanty said on Saturday.

After reviewing a passing out parade at the Officers Training Academy (OTA) here, Lt Gen Mohanty also hailed the "increasingly significant role" of women officers in the Indian Army and said they have proved their mettle despite the "trying nature" of the profession.

In his address, Mohanty said "India's comprehensive national power increases and it gets called upon to play an increasingly larger role in global geo-politics."

"Adversaries with hegemonic designs exploit opportunities to try and alter status quo on false pretexts," he said without specifying anyone but the remarks seemed to be an apparent reference to China.

These multi-domain security challenges must be overcome in order to achieve peace, prosperity and growth.

"We must and will stand up to all external and internal threats. The Armed forces are the strongest pillar of the country. We cannot afford to let our guard down."

"The country looks upon us to deliver, each and every time. Our responses would be integrated adopting not only a tri-service but a whole of nation approach," Mohanty added.

Referring to the passing out women cadets on Saturday, both from India and Bhutan, he said they reflect the "inclusive nature of our Armed forces."

Noting that women officers in the Indian Army have played increasingly significant role over the last few decades and have proved their mettle despite the trying nature of the profession, Mohanty said, "as a consequence, women are now being enrolled into other ranks as well, to overwhelming response."

"Professional challenges will remain; be prepared to make the necessary sacrifices to meet the leadership attributes desired from an Army officer," he added.