India’s desire for peace is born out of strength, should not mistaken otherwise: Army chief

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New Delhi: The Indian Army stands firm to counter any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo along the country’s borders and India’s desire for peace is born out of strength and should not be mistaken otherwise, Army Chief General MM Naravane said on Friday.

The army chief also said that differences in perceptions and disputes are best resolved through established norms based on the principle of equal and mutual security.

The armies of India and China are locked in a military standoff in eastern Ladakh since May 5, 2020, after a violent clash erupted in the Pangong lake area.Both the countries have conducted 14 rounds of military-level talks to resolve the standoff.

“We stand firm to counter any attempt to unilaterally change the status quo along our borders. Our response to such attempts has been swift, calibrated and decisive as was seen when the situation so demanded,” Naravane said in his speech on the eve of Army Day.

Naravane said the Army has instituted additional safeguards to prevent any further attempts at military brinkmanship.”We believe that the differences in perceptions and disputes are best resolved through established norms based on the principle of equal and mutual security,” he mentioned.

“Our desire for peace and tranquillity is born out of our inherent strength. It should not be mistaken otherwise,” he added.

Institutional mechanisms and safeguards to counter state-sponsored terrorism have been strengthened both along the borders and the hinterland, Naravane mentioned.

These mechanisms and safeguards have proven effective in lowering the levels of violence, he said.”Our actions have demonstrated our capability and willingness to strike at the source of terrorism,” the Army chief mentioned.In the year gone by, the Indian Army has resolutely executed its responsibilities and was steadfast in safeguarding the security and territorial integrity of the nation, he said.India’s active borders were guarded with resolve and resilience, he mentioned.

“Our brave officers, JCOs (junior commissioned officers), and soldiers, have faced adversaries and adversity with courage and fortitude even to the extent to laying down their lives in the highest traditions of the Indian Army,” Naravane said.

The Indian Army remains at a high state of operational readiness to face ongoing and future challenges, he said.After the violent clash on May 5, 2020, both — Indian and Chinese militaries — gradually enhanced their deployment by rushing in tens of thousands of soldiers as well as heavy weaponry.

As a result of a series of military and diplomatic talks, the two sides completed the disengagement process last year in the north and south banks of the Pangong lake and in the Gogra area.

Each side currently has around 50,000 to 60,000 troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the sensitive sector. PTI

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