In a press conference ahead of Army Day, Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande, assured that the security situation on the northern border remains stable yet sensitive. Emphasising ongoing diplomatic efforts to address bilateral concerns, he highlighted the high operational preparedness of the armed forces.
Addressing the security situation in Northeast India, General Pande acknowledged positive developments and reduced violence due to proactive government policies. Speaking about the Northeast, he stated, “Positive developments have occurred due to proactive government policies. Violence parameters have reduced, and we are working towards normalizing and ensuring stability.”
He outlined advancements in technology, including the induction of better vehicles, drones, and counter-drone systems, alongside ongoing restructuring initiatives.
General Pande noted the success of the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, despite occasional infiltration attempts. He highlighted the military’s robust anti-drone mechanism to counter illicit activities and expressed concerns about increased terrorist activities in the Rajouri Poonch sector.
Underlining the significance of disruptive technologies in modern warfare, General Pande stated that national interests take precedence. He affirmed the commitment of security forces to maintaining a stable and secure environment, both internally and externally, supporting the nation’s progress.
General Pande shared updates on Agniveers recruitment, indicating successful deployment and positive feedback from the first two batches. Additionally, he highlighted the inclusion of women officers in command roles and the transition to fully online competitive and promotion exams by the end of the year.
Army Chief monitors Bhutan-China boundary talks
General Pande also revealed the meticulous scrutiny being applied to the evolving discussions between Bhutan and China aimed at resolving their long-standing boundary dispute. The Army Chief emphasised the distinctive bilateral ties between India and Bhutan, rooted in profound trust, goodwill, and mutual understanding, extending seamlessly into the military realm through the long-standing presence of the Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT) since the early 1960s.
Responding to inquiries about the ongoing progress in the Bhutan-China boundary talks and its potential implications for India’s security, General Pandey highlighted the shared security concerns between India and Bhutan. “Bhutan and we share mutual security concerns which both of us are aware of. The ongoing talks on the boundary which you alluded to, we are closely monitoring,” he asserted, reassuring that India maintains transparent and regular communication with its Bhutanese counterparts.
General Pandey underscored the positive trajectory of India’s military relationship with Bhutan, encompassing various training programs. He also acknowledged the diplomatic engagement between Bhutan and China, revealing that India has been actively observing the negotiations, given the potential ramifications for its security interests, particularly in the Doklam tri-junction.
The recent talks between Bhutan’s Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Beijing, wherein Bhutan reiterated its commitment to the one-China principle, were highlighted. The Chinese readout of the discussions indicated Bhutan’s readiness to collaborate with China for an early resolution of the boundary issue, furthering the political process of establishing diplomatic relations.
The article contextualised the current discussions within the historical backdrop of the Doklam standoff in 2017, emphasising the area’s disputed status between Bhutan and China. It noted the signing of the “three-step roadmap” agreement in October 2021 and underscored the vigilance with which India is following the negotiations, recalling the Doklam standoff’s potential for a broader conflict between India and China.