- "Army swears allegiance to constitution": Army chief General MM Naravane
- Remark comes after predecessor Bipin Rawat criticised anti-CAA protesters
- He said Army focus will be on prepping Army for future wars
Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Saturday reaffirmed his force's allegiance to the core values of the constitution and the values of the preamble which describes India as a secular, democratic republic. "As the Army, we swear allegiance to the constitution of India... Justice, liberty, equality and fraternity enshrined in the constitution should guide us," he said at a press conference.
General Naravane's statement comes weeks after his predecessor, General Bipin Rawat, created controversy over his criticism of those leading protests against the citizenship law. "Leaders are not those who lead people in inappropriate directions, as we are witnessing in a large number of university and college students, the way they are leading masses of crowds to carry out arson and violence in our cities and towns. This is not leadership," General Rawat had said last month.
Addressing a press conference in Delhi, General Naravane also said that the focus of training will be on preparing the Army for future wars which will be network-centric and complex. It is the "quality and not the quantity that will be our mantra on training for future warfare", he said.
"Men behind the machine matter the most. We will make sure that our men get the best and we will look into all their aspirations, needs," General Naravane added.
General MM Naravane took charge as the Army chief on December 31, succeeding General Bipin Rawat who is now the Chief of Defence Staff. He assumed the new role after he was appointed Vice Chief of the Army in September. General Naravane earlier headed the Eastern Command, which guards India's nearly 4,000-kilometre-long border with China.
Referring to the border with China, he said the Indian Army is prepared to deal with challenges along the northern border.
Over the last years, there have been several incursions by Chinese soldiers, both in Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh. In 2017, the Chinese and Indian troops had a 10-week face-off at Doklam near Sikkim, as Indian soldiers crossed into the plateau to prevent Chinese road construction workers from extending a road to the strategic Jampheri ridge-line.
India considers the Doklam plateau an undisputed part of Bhutanese territory, while China considers it an extension of its Chumbi Valley, a wedge of land that lies in between Sikkim to the west and Bhutan to the east.
General Naravane termed the creation of the post of Chief of Defence Staff a "very big step" towards integration of the three forces and said the Army will ensure its success. "Integration will also be within the Army and the integrated battle group is just one example of that. But I also want to assure everyone that in this process of integration we will take everyone along. Nobody will be left behind," he said.