Speaking at parade grounds of 11 Gorkha Rifles in Lucknow, COAS Gen Manoj Pandey also emphasised Army’s efforts to foil infiltration bids along LoC & role in Manipur.

Lucknow: Speaking on the occasion of Army Day, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Pande said Monday that the Army is fully prepared to face any challenges arising on the northern border and that it has taken adequate steps to bolster defences on the border.

“On the northern borders, the Indian Army is fully prepared and capable to face any challenge. The Army has taken several steps to strengthen the defences,” he said, addressing the 76th Army Day parade at the parade grounds of 11 Gorkha Rifles regiment in Lucknow. The city also houses the headquarters of the Central Command, which oversees India’s defences along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.

He added that the Army has in recent times, through emergency procurement procedures, acquired a range of the latest equipment including several weapon systems equipped with niche technologies.

The Army, Gen Pande emphasised, is especially concentrating on bolstering infrastructure along the border areas.

“There has been good progress in this area. Our priorities are to make efforts and coordinate with other state agencies to strengthen our borders. In the west, the conditions in Jammu and Kashmir are in control, however, in the sector of Rajouri and Poonch, terrorist activities have gone up.”

He added that while the ceasefire persists on the Line of Control (LoC), repeated acts of cross-border infiltration show that terror camps are still operating across the border in Pakistan.

“The Army has defeated infiltration attempts with total vigilance. In remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir, continuous efforts and strong steps taken by the security forces have resulted in reduced rates of violence,” he said.

Gen Pande also underscored the Army’s efforts along with those of other stakeholders in uprooting terrorist networks.

In the Northeast, he said the Army has carried out peace talks with local insurgent groups and that there has been “significant progress” in this area.

“The Government of India’s proactive policies have played an important role in bringing about peace. In Manipur, the government and the Indian Army’s efforts have proven fruitful to keep the situation under control.”

The Army has handled the situation with great restraint and in a professional manner to minimise the damage, he said, adding that the force is “trying hard to restore peace and normalcy in the state” where ethnic violence has claimed at least 200 lives since last May.

In his address, Gen Pande also said that soldiers of the Indian Army have discharged their responsibilities in every sphere, be it protecting India’s border, counter-terrorism operations or humanitarian and disaster relief.

The Army, he added, is a well-trained and battle-hardened force and has been playing a crucial role in establishing a stable and secure environment that is essential for a nation’s development.