Reaffirming the commitment to provide impetus to the domestic defence industry. the Chief of Army Staff General (COAS) MM Naravane said that the Indian Army is committed to the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (Self-Reliant India Mission) and has given much-needed stimulus by approving maximum procurement orders for the domestic defence industry.
At a virtual press conference on Wednesday, ahead of the Army Day, Gen Naravane disclosed that “We have prioritized our procurements so that maximum of this should go to the Indian industry. And at the same time, we are also hand-holding numerous indigenization projects right from the design and development stage, right through the trials and the induction into the Army. For example, in the current financial year out of the 20 AoNs (Acceptance of Necessity) for procurement which was granted, 19 are ‘Buy Indian’ category”.
Gen Naravane observed that the crisis on the northern borders gave us an opportunity to fast-track infrastructure development and undertake doctrinal reviews and make up various operational voids which have been existing, through emergency and fast track procurement.
Briefing on the India-China border dispute at the northern borders, Army Chief said though there has been partial disengagement in the region, the “threat by no means has reduced”. Force levels of both sides are more less the same. On our side, these have been enhanced. We will deal with the PLA in a firm and resolute manner, and necessary safeguards are in place to take care of any contingency, he said.
“We have continued to maintain the highest levels of operational preparedness while at the same time engaging with the Chinese PLA through dialogue,” Gen Naravane said.
The Chief of Army Staff also referred to the up gradation and development of infrastructure along Northern borders, saying the initiative has been undertaken in a holistic and comprehensive manner. “This includes roads, tunnels, all-weather connectivity, strategic railway lines, additional bridges across Brahmaputra River, storage facilities for fuel and ammunition supplies, informed Army Chief. He also said that major efforts are being undertaken to identify all dual-use infrastructure in the border available in the civil domain.
On the western border front along the Line of Control, Army Chief said that there has been some positive development on this front since last year and the situation has seen marked improvement. Though, Naravane added that a rise in infiltration attempts by terrorists has also been noted. “On the western front, there is an increase in the concentration of terrorists at various launch pads and there have been repeated attempts of infiltration across the Line of Control (LoC),” he said.
“This exposes the nefarious designs of our western neighbour and we have shown zero tolerance to terror, and commit ourselves to extract dire costs, should that be forced upon us,” Gen Naravane quipped.
In line with our operational realities, reorganization, rebalancing and reorientation of additional forces to the northern borders have been carried out while retaining our capability of punitive strikes on the western front, he informed.
Army Chief informed that the overall situation in the northeast is under control and the robust security posture has significantly curtailed operations by the terrorists. On the situation along the Indo-Myanmar border, General Naravane said that keeping with the improved situation, there has been graduated de-induction of army units where the situation has improved. The plan is to increase Assam Rifles battalions along the Indo-Myanmar border.