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Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Monday urged all Army personnel to work with "added zeal" to preserve the core values of the force, including its "apolitical" character while ensuring that it remains one of the most potent instruments of India's national power. In a New Year message, Rawat also complimented the Army for successfully meeting external as well as internal challenges with grit, determination, and pride during 2017. His comments were seen as a reference to the 73-day-long border face-off between Indian Army and Chinese troops in Doklam and the anti-terror operations by the force in Jammu and Kashmir. "Our unflinching loyalty, commitment to the nation and apolitical stance, confers on us a uniqueness that we must preserve," he said. Therefore, Rawat said, "we need to continue to work with added zeal while upholding our core values of integrity, loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, courage, and honour to fulfil our constitutional obligations and assigned roles." Rawat said the Army successfully dealt with various challenges it faced throughout the year, including combating terrorism and insurgency and guarding the country's borders. "We have successfully progressed through an eventful year meeting all challenges, both external as well as internal, with grit, determination, and pride.
We have exhibited sincerity and commitment of the highest order while guarding our frontiers, combating terrorism and insurgency," he said. Since the beginning of the year, the Army pursued an aggressive anti-terror policy in Jammu and Kashmir, at the same time, forcefully responding to all ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops along the Line of Control with a tit-for-tat approach. The Army chief also paid glowing tributes to those who made supreme sacrifices in the line of duty. "Let us continue to strive for all-round excellence to ensure we remain as one of the most potent, responsive, accountable and relevant instruments of national power," he said. General Rawat called upon all the Army men to "rededicate" themselves in the service of the nation and discharge responsibilities in the best traditions of our Army. He said Indian soldiers in the UN Missions have made the Army and the nation proud by displaying "outstanding professionalism" in the face of challenging situations.