Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane today spoke to NDTV on a range of issues, including the Indian Army infrastructure, the army's stand on political issues, the post of the new Chief of Defence Staff or CDS among others. General Manoj Mukund Naravane on New Year's Eve took charge as the Chief of Army Staff, succeeding General Bipin Rawat.
Here are the highlights of Army Chief general MM Naravane's interview to NDTV:
- "We have always remained apolitical that has been demonstrated aptly in the last 70 years of independence. I don't think there should be any apprehensions on that matter and we will continue being a political force in the future also," said General MM Naravane, speaking on the army's stand over politics.
- "If you are referring to his (General Bipin Rawat's) remarks on leadership, then the remarks and statements made were on a seminar on leadership, on what are good leaders. Good leaders are those who take along the team to achieve organisation roles. That was the context," said General Naravane on General Rawat's comments over the Citizenship law protests.
- "Over the years, we have adopted several tactics to deal with this threat. As a result, casualties have gone down drastically," said General Naravane on terror attacks using car bombs and IEDs.
- "CDS will bring about much needed cooperation, synergy between the three services, not that it was not there earlier. This is to only to bring in operational efficiencies and benefits due to economies of scale": General Naravane on the newly created post of Chief of Defence Staff.
- "The three chiefs will continue to report to the Defence Minister, so I do not think that will undergo any change," said General MM Naravane on whether the creation of the post of CDS will change his professional engagement with the Prime Minister and Defence Minister.
- "The LAC (Line of Actual Control) witnessed a period of tranquility and peace for a long time. There has been no shot fired in anger ever since the last skirmish sometime in the late 80s. So, to that extent the border is quiet. The various developments which are taking place in the PLA, whether it is the army, air force or navy, we are monitoring those and based on that we are also taking whatever steps that we have to take so that we are able to deter an adverse situation," said General Naravane on the border which India shares with China.
- "Post the Wuhan summit, strategic guidelines have been formulated and those guidelines have been disseminated at the militaries on both sides and it has percolated down to the lowest level. The basic aim of those guidelines is to avoid any confrontation and should there be certain face-offs they should be resolved at the level of the local commanders and that mechanism is working very well," said General Naravane.
- "You just mentioned the (defence) budget as the percentage of the GDP. If our country grows and we become a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2025, then that percentage of the GDP will automatically translate into a greater defence budget. I think that is what we should be aiming for, the growth of country as a whole and automatically we will get a budget which is sufficient to meet all our needs," General Naravane said on the defence budget.