Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat on Sunday said that while the Army wants peace and tranquility along the border, it would retaliate if attacked, reported ANI. Commenting on the controversy surrounding his appointment, Rawat said that it was a government decision. The new Army chief said all units and services of the Army were together and would continue working as one unit.

Rawat said, “Our army seeks peace and tranquillity along the border, but it does not mean we are weak, nor will we step back when under attack.” Rawat is the 27th chief of Army Staff. He assumed charge on December 31, 2016, from his predecessor General Dalbir Singh. Rawat’s appointment had raised several questions because the selection was not done on the basis of seniority, which is the norm followed by the Army. Rawat superseded two senior officers to the post.

The Defence Ministry had defended the move, and said Rawat’s appointment was made on the basis of “merit and suitability”. Lieutenant General Rawat has “more than 10 years of experience in counter-insurgency operations and on the Line of Control, besides serving on the China border”, the ministry had said.