Indian Army chief Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday warned Pakistan that India reserves “the right to preemptively strike at sources of terror”, PTI reported. Naravane made the comment hours after taking charge as the 28th chief of Army staff, replacing Bipin Rawat, NDTV reported.

Naravane, who was appointed the vice chief of Army staff in September, told ANI that there was a need for the Army to maintain a high standard of operational readiness for any conflict. “Terrorism is a worldwide problem, India has been at the receiving end of terrorism for a long time,” he said. “It is only now that the entire world and many countries affected with terrorism, are coming to realise what a threat it is.”

Naravane claimed Pakistan had been using terrorism as an instrument of state policy, to carry out a proxy war against India. “However, this state [of affairs] can’t last long, as they say you can’t fool all the people, all the time,” he added.

Naravane also claimed that since the removal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status, there had been a marked improvement in the situation on the ground. He said incidents of violence have declined, which is good for the population of the Union Territory, and for bringing about peace and prosperity in the region.

“There are ceasefire violations, we are aware that there are terrorists on the other side in various launchpads waiting to cross over but we are fully prepared to meet this threat,” the new Army chief added.

Naravane earlier headed the Eastern Command of the Army, which looks over the 4,000-km border with China. He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and the Indian Military Academy, NDTV reported. He was commissioned into the seventh battalion of the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment in June 1980. Naravane has also commanded a Rashtriya Rifles battalion in Jammu and Kashmir. He is a recipient of the Sena Medal, the Vishisht Seva Medal and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.

Meanwhile, after a farewell Guard of Honour on Tuesday morning, Bipin Rawat said: “I am confident he [Naravane] will take the Army to greater heights.” He also presented the baton of the chairperson of the chiefs of staff committee to his successor. Rawat has been appointed the first chief of defence staff and will take over the position with immediate effect.