Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Pande on Sunday said that several challenges lay ahead for armed forces as the geopolitical situation is changing quickly, The Hindu reported.

“Utmost priority would be to ensure very high standards of operational preparedness to face current, contemporary and future challenges across the spectrum of conflict,” he said.

His remarks come a day after he took over as India’s 29th Chief of Army Staff from General MM Naravane.

On Sunday, Pande said that the the forces will effectively deal with all possible security challenges in coordination with the Indian Air Force and the Navy, PTI reported.

The focus will be on ongoing reforms, restructuring and transformation to enhance the army’s operational and functional capacity, he said.

“In terms of capability development and force modernisation, my effort would be to leverage new technologies through indigenisation and self-reliance,” he added, PTI reported.

Pande said that the key priority would be the welfare of the soldiers and army officials, PTI reported.

All the officers of the army will get an equal opportunity for career growth, and in senior leadership positions, every officer is trained in all aspects of warfighting, he said, according to ANI.

‘Will not allow loss of territory’

The Indian armed forces had responded to the Chinese Army’s attempts to change the status quo at the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh, Pande told ANI. The Indian Army will not allow any loss of territory, he added.

“Unilateral and provocative actions by our adversary to change the status quo had been adequately dealt with,” he told ANI. The Indian forces have reoriented themselves and are holding important physical positions after carrying out a threat assessment, Pande added.

“In the end, our aim is to reduce the tension along the Line of Actual Control and restoration of the status quo as it was earlier,” he told ANI.

India and China have been locked in a border standoff since their troops clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the clash. China had put the number of casualties on its side at four.

After several rounds of talks, India and China had disengaged from Pangong Tso Lake in February 2021 and Gogra in August 2020 in eastern Ladakh.