- MM Naravane on Tuesday took charge as India's new Army chief
- General MM Naravane issued a strongly-worded warning to Pakistan
- We reserve the right to pre-emptively strike at terror, he said
Hours after taking charge as India's new Chief of Army Staff, General MM Naravane issued a strongly-worded warning to Pakistan to desist from sponsoring terrorism, telling news agency PTI "we reserve the right to pre-emptively strike at sources of terror". The Army Chief said India had "multiple options across (the) spectrum of conflict... to respond to any act of terror sponsored or abetted by Pakistan". General Naravane, who succeeded General Bipin Rawat, also said his focus would be on ensuring the Army maintained high standards of operational readiness to "face any threat at any time".
General Manoj Mukund Naravane, who was appointed to his position this morning, assumes the new after he was appointed Vice Chief of the Army in September. He earlier headed the Eastern Command, which guards India's nearly 4,000-kilometre-long border with China.
"We have evolved a strategy of resolute punitive response against sponsored terrorism. If Pakistan does not stop state-sponsored terrorism, we reserve right to pre-emptively strike at sources of terror," General Naravane told PTI, adding, "...multiple options across spectrum of conflict to respond to any act of terror sponsored or abetted by Pakistan".
#WATCH Army Chief General MM Naravane: Our neighbour is trying to use terrorism as tool of state policy, as a way of carrying out proxy war against us. While maintaining deniability. However, this state can't last long, as they say you can't fool all the people, all the time. pic.twitter.com/mQEsh8CbaJ— ANI (@ANI) December 31, 2019
"As far as our neighbour is concerned they are trying to use terrorism as tool of state policy, as a way of carrying out proxy war against us. This can't last long. You can't fool all the people all the time," he told news agency ANI, describing terrorism as "worldwide problem" but one India had been at the receiving end "for a long time".
"It is only now that the entire world and many countries affected with terrorism (that they) are coming to realise what a threat it is," he claimed.
India has repeatedly blamed Pakistan for carrying out terrorist attacks in the country and asked it to stop supporting terror outfits operating from its soil. Earlier this year Prime Minister Narendra Modi called on world leaders to unite against state-sponsored terrorism.
Pakistan has also been cautioned by the global community for failing to act against terror funding; in October the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global terror funding watchdog, retained Pakistan in a "grey list" of countries whose domestic laws are considered too weak to tackle challenges of money laundering and terrorism financing.
"(The) Pakistan Army's all-out efforts to deflect attention from state-sponsored terrorism have been a failure," the Army Chief said, adding that the country's "proxy war design" had been hit by "elimination of terrorists and decimation of terror networks".
"...aware terrorists in various launch pads waiting to cross over but we are fully prepared to meet this threat," he added, also saying India would continue to improve capacity along the China border.
The Army Chief also discussed some of his plans for the future, telling news agency ANI that he would work on procuring "better equipment, good tactics and strategy" to help the armed forces maintain operational readiness.
General Naravane's comments echo those made by his predecessor, General Bipin Rawat.
In October General Rawat, who was yesterday appointed as the country's first Chief of Defence Staff, described Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) as a "terrorist-controlled country or a terrorist-controlled part of Pakistan".
With input from PTI, ANI