Abrogating Article 370 a historic step, disrupted plans of 'western neighbour, its proxies': Army chief

Army chief Gen M M Naravane hails the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 as a "historic step" and says the move has disrupted plans of the "western neighbour and its proxies"

Chief of Army Staff Gen M M Naravane during the annual press conference in New Delhi. (PTI PHOTO)

Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane on Wednesday said the Centre's decision to strip Kashmir of its special status by revoking the Article 370 disrupted Pakistan's proxy war campaign that bled the northern state for years.

“Abrogation of Article 370 is a historic step. The decision has disrupted the plans of our western neighbour and its proxies. It will prove to be important in integrating Jammu and Kashmir in the national mainstream,” the Army Chief said addressing his men on the occasion of 72nd Army Day.

In August, the BJP-led central government announced its controversial decision to withdraw Article 370 and divide the northern state into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir. The bifurcation took place in October under heavy security cover.

Army sources maintained the move helped fight the terrorism effectively in the valley. When a team of 15 diplomats visited the strife-torn state last week, they were given a detailed briefing on the security scenario and the threats posed by terrorism.

“We have zero tolerance against terrorism. We have many options to give a reply to the terrorists and will not hesitate to use them,” Gen Naravane said.

On the day he was handed over the responsibility of leading the 1.3 million strong Army by his predecessor, Gen Naravane warned Pakistan by making it clear that India reserved the right to preemptively strike at the source of terror, which would be the new normal for India.

“Our neighbour is trying to use terrorism as tool of state policy, as a way of carrying out proxy war against us while maintaining deniability. However, this state can't last long, as they say you can't fool all the people, all the time,” he had stated on December 31.

Gen Naravane thanked the troops for responding to the complex challenge of proxy war and internal security situations as also those positioned along the Western Borders, to remain vigilant at all times.

“The country had to face some security challenges last year. Not only it countered proxy war but other situations. Whether it is LoC (Line of Control) or LAC (Line of Actual Control), we have ensured security with activeness and strength,” he said after the parade, led by Capt Tania Shergill, who becomes the first lady officer to lead a contingent of men in the Army Day parade at Cariappa parade ground in Delhi cantonment.

A fourth generation officer from an armed forces family, Capt Shergill would be the adjutant to the Indian Army contingent for the Republic Day parade.

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