Chief of Army Staff General Bipin Rawat on Friday said soldiers need to use the suggestion and grievance boxes at their bases or contact him directly to convey their grouses instead of posting videos on social media. Addressing his first press conference as Army chief, Rawat’s statements followed the videos posted by a soldier, Border Security Force jawan and Central Reserve Police Force constable complaining about matters including harassment, poor quality of food and facilities.

Speaking at the Manekshaw Centre in New Delhi, Rawat said, “Whatever complaints they have, they can address it through the excellent grievance redressal mechanism we have. Anyone, irrespective of rank and service can reach out to me directly,” ANI reported. He urged his soldiers to work as a team to “ensure that India is secure and peaceful”.

On Thursday, Lance Naik Yagya Pratap Singh had posted a video alleging he was being harassed by his superiors after he wrote a letter to the prime minister’s office, defence minister and Supreme Court about malpractices within the force, PTI reported. He said he now faced a trial before a court martial despite the PMO ordering a probe into his allegations.

The Army chief denied comments that the videos indicate a communication gap within the system, ANI reported. Referring to the Army jawan’s video, Rawat said the soldier probably did not get a satisfactory response or was not “happy with it”.

He also repeated his stand on Pakistan, saying that while the Indian Army wanted peace, it would not hesitate to launch more surgical strikes if provoked. He said the decision to go to war with Pakistan was the government’s prerogative.

On his controversial appointment as Army chief, where he superseded two officers to take charge, Rawat said he had reached out to the Army’s senior-most officer, Eastern Army Commander Lt General Praveen Bakshi. Rawat’s selection was not done on the basis of seniority, which is the norm followed by the Army. Rawat said, “We reached out to each other. All that he [Bakshi] has told me is that he respects the decision of the government and that he will support me in the organisation till the end.”