General Manoj Mukund Naravane (Photo Credit: PTI )
A day after taking charge as 28th Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Wednesday hoped that maintaining peace and tranquillity along India's border with China will lead to an "eventual solution" to the boundary dispute, and asserted that military capabilities will be bolstered along the northern frontier. He also said his force will give special attention to issues relating to human rights.
On the prevailing situation along the border with China, General Naravane said the Indian Army will enhance its capabilities along the frontier as the focus in the past was on the boundary with Pakistan.
"We have the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. The border question is yet to be settled. However, we have made a lot of progress in maintaining peace and tranquillity along the borders," he told reporters.
"I am sure that the situation will prevail. And by maintaining peace and tranquillity along the borders, we will be able to set the stage for an eventual solution," he added.
The India-China border dispute covers 3,488-km-long LAC. China claims Arunachal Pradesh as part of southern Tibet, while India contests it.
Both sides have been asserting that pending the final resolution of the boundary issue, it is necessary to maintain peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
"While we have been giving attention in the past to our western front (border with Pakistan), the northern front also requires equal amount of attention. And it is in that context we are now going in for embranchment of our capacities along the northern border," Gen. Naravane said.
He also said that the armed forces were fully ready to deal with any security challenge facing the nation.
"I am assuring the people of the country that armed forces are fully prepared to keep the country secure. We will not allow any harm to come to the country. We are fully alert round-the-clock. Our forces are fully capable of dealing with any challenge," he said after a ceremonial Guard of Honour.
General Naravane said his priority would be to keep the Army operationally prepared at all times.
"This will happen as a result of modernisation. We will continue to build capabilities, particularly in north and northeastern regions. We will also lay emphasise on raising security awareness among our rank and file and also pay special attention to the issue of human rights," he said.
In his 37 years of service, Gen Naravane served in numerous command and staff appointments in peace, field and highly active counter-insurgency environments in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.