- General Naravane issued a warning for Pak to stop sponsoring terrorism
- He said that terror camps continue to exist across the Pak border
- General Bipin Rawat's comments on Citizenship law sparked off a huge row
Army chief General MM Naravane on Wednesday said that the forces under his command have always been apolitical and will remain so in the future in keeping with a hallowed oath taken by every soldier to hold the Constitution above everything else.
The statement came days after his predecessor, General Bipin Rawat, sparked off a row with his comments regarding the violence during protests against the citizenship law.
"The Army has always been apolitical and will remain apolitical. When we enroll in the Army, we take an oath to follow the Constitution and keep that above all ," General Naravane, who was appointed to the position on Tuesday, told NDTV.
General Rawat has been targeted by the opposition parties over a comment criticising the incidents of arson and vandalism during the protests over the citizenship law. "Leadership is all about leading. When you move forward, everybody follows... But leaders are not those who lead people in inappropriate directions, as we are witnessing with a large number of students," he said at an even in Delhi last week.
The new Army chief said he will ensure that his forces are kept "operationally ready" to meet any threat posed by terror camps that continue to exist across the Pakistan border. "We know of terrorist camps and terrorism training taking place on the other side of the border. We will keep an eye on them and accordingly make plans to counter them," he said, adding that his priority -- like all his predecessors -- is to ensure that the ground forces are kept operationally ready.
Hours after assuming the position, General Naravane had issued a strongly worded warning for Pakistan to stop sponsoring terrorism. "India has multiple options across (the) spectrum of conflict to respond to any act of terror sponsored or abetted by Pakistan," he said then.
The Army chief claimed that there has been a marked improvement in the Kashmir situation since the central government scrapped its special status five months ago. "If you look at the incidents before August 5 and if we look after August 5, the numbers itself will show that the situation has improved. So, there is no doubt about this," he told NDTV.
General Naravane said that the situation was calm on the Chinese front too. "There is an atmosphere of peace around the line of actual control there, nothing to worry about. We are building roads on our side, building infrastructure, building capacity, constructing airfields. This is development on both ends. And this development is for the entire country. Please don't see it only from the military point of view," he said.