'Won't shy away from using power'

'Won't shy away from using power'

Will seek peace along borders, says army chief

'Won't shy away from using power'

New army chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Sunday said that his men would not hesitate to use force at the border, even though India wanted peace and tranquility at the borders.

“Our army seeks peace and tranquility along the borders but it does not mean we are weak. We are capable and powerful in all forms and if need be, we will not shy away from using our power in any form,” Gen Rawat said here after inspecting his first ceremonial guard of honour.

“Our aim is to maintain peace at the border. But I will say it again that if need be, we will not hesitate in using our power,” said the new chief, who was one of the brains behind the “surgical strikes” on terror camps across the Line of Control.

Commissioned in the fifth battalion of the 11 Gorkha Rifles in December 1978, Gen Rawat commanded an infantry battalion, along the Line of Actual Control in the eastern sector; a Rashtriya Rifles sector and an infantry division in the Kashmir valley; a Corps in the eastern theater and the Southern Command before being appointed as the vice chief in August.

Situation worsened
The 27th Chief of the Indian Army assumed charges at a time when the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir worsened following the killing of militant leader Burhan Wani in July.

The total number of security personnel killed in Jammu and Kashmir was 63 (23 at the LoC and 30 in the hinterland). In comparison, the numbers were 33 (four at LoC and 29 in the hinterland) in 2015 and 32 (three at LoC and 27 in other parts of the state) in 2014, sources said. The Indian Army killed 141 terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir in 2016.

The northern state also witnessed 225 ceasefire violations across the LoC in 2016, which is way abiove the numbers in the last several years.

India shares a 3,323-km boundary with Pakistan, including a 749-km Line of Control.
Asked about the controversy surrounding the government’s decision to appoint Gen Rawat by bypassing two of his senior officers, the army chief said, “I respect the officers who have been superseded. They have worked with me shoulder-to-shoulder and I can say it for certain that they will continue to work shoulder-to-shoulder to keep the unity and power of the army in the future also.”

The government ignored the claims of Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Commander Lt Gen P M Hariz while picking Gen Rawat.