Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane on Friday said that India gave a “befitting response” to an attempt to change the “status quo on borders”, reported PTI. Naravane, however, added that India was committed to resolve the border standoff with China through talks.
In an address at the Army Day parade in New Delhi, Naravane said no one should make the mistake of testing India’s patience. He added that the sacrifice of the soldiers who were killed in clashes with Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley will not go in vain.
“We are committed to resolve disputes through talks and political efforts but no one should make any mistake of testing our patience,” he said. “I want to assure the country that the sacrifice of the Galwan heroes will not go waste. Indian Army will not allow any harm to the country’s sovereignty and security.”
The tensions between India and China started with initial scuffles that led to a pitched battle – without firearms – in June that led to the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers . Beijing, however, refused to release casualty numbers on its side. With eight rounds of Corps Commander-level talks failing to resolve the standoff, both countries have deployed troops and tanks in sub-zero conditions.
“Our efforts will continue to find a solution to the current situation on the basis of mutual and equal security,” said the chief of Army staff.
Naravane also referred to Pakistan in his address. He accused the neighbouring country of providing a safe haven to terrorists. “In the training camps, across the LoC [Line of Control], around 300-400 terrorists are ready to infiltrate,” he said. “There was an increase of 40% in the ceasefire violations last year which is the proof of Pakistan’s sinister plans. There were also attempts to smuggle weapons using drones.”
Earlier this week, the Army chief had said that Pakistan and China continued to pose threats to the northern and eastern borders of India and suggested that there was a possibility of a collusion between the two countries. He added that the Indian forces were ready to counter the threat.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi saluted the “mighty soldiers” and their families for their efforts to raise the “head of the country with pride”. President Ram Nath Kovind also expressed his gratitude to the Indian Armed Forces by remembering the “supreme sacrifice” in serving the nation. “India will remain forever grateful to courageous and committed soldiers, veterans and their families,” he added.
India has been observing the Army Day on January 15 since 1949 when Field Marshal Kodandera M Cariappa took over from General Sir Francis Butcher to become the Indian Army’s first commander-in-chief. On this day, dignitaries acknowledge the achievements and risks undertaken by Indian Army personnel.