New Delhi, Jan 13: Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane said that Pakistan and China together form a "potent" threat, and the "threat of collusive" cannot be wished away.
"Pakistan and China together form a potent threat and the threat of collusion cannot be wished away," General Naravane during his annual press conference ahead of the Army Day. Pakistan continues to embrace terrorism. We have zero-tolerance for terror. We reserve our right to respond at a time and place of our own choosing and with precision. This is a clear message we have sent across," he added.
Further, with no aim to change the status quo in Eastern Ladakh, the Army Chief said that the Indian Army is ready for any eventuality but expressed hope that India-China would be able to reach an agreement to resolve the border issue.
Asserting that the situation in Eastern Ladakh is the same as prevailing last year, the Army chief said, "There has been no change in the status quo. As far as the resolution of the present situation is concerned, we are hoping that based on the principle of mutual and equal security, we would be able to reach an agreement, which would result in disengagement and de-escalation, disengagement from the friction areas, and once de-escalation has been achieved then an overall de-escalation and a reduction in strength of the troops in the forward areas."
"Talks (between India and China) will be used to address the issues on the basis of mutual and equal security. I am confident that we would be able to resolve the issue," he added. General Naravane also emphasized the increased cooperation between China and Pakistan in both military and non-military sectors. "The 'two-front war' threat is something that we should be prepared to deal with", he added.
In a significant development, the Chinese Army has moved back around 10,000 troops from the depth areas near the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh.
The Army Chief said the security situation is definitely improved manifold as far as the north-east is concerned. "In Nagaland, except for one group NSCN-K is not in the ceasefire but with the surrender of top leadership which was hiding in Myanmar, we are hoping they will also rejoin the process. There was no violence in Mizoram. In Manipur, there were one or two groups that were involved. Most of Assam is quiet. So overall, the situation in the north-east has improved by leaps and bounds over the last one or two years," Naravane said.
While speaking on Afghanistan, Naravane said, "As far as Afghanistan is concerned, there are no plans whatsoever to commit boots on the ground and neither do we envisage such a scenario developing in the near future."
Naravane said that terror continues abated in Jammu and Kashmir as far as internal security duty. "Although the situation in the hinterland has improved, it has not reached a level in which we can even contemplate moving troops out of UT of Jammu and Kashmir," he said. The Army chief also informed that he had initiated a proposal last month that women officers can be recruited to Army aviation. "We are thinking that in the next course in July 2021, we will admit women officers for pilot training," he added.