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India reserves right to preemptively strike at terror source: Army Chief

'We will continue to improve capability building along the Northern border so we are prepared when the need arises,' he said

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Manoj Mukund Naravane
General Manoj Mukund Naravane takes over as the 28th Chief of Army Staff, succeeding General Bipin Rawat | Photo: @ANI (Twitter)

In a stern warning to Pakistan, Gen on Tuesday said India reserves the right to preemptively strike at sources of terror threat if the neighbouring country does not stop state-sponsored terrorism.

In an exclusive interview to PTI hours after taking charge of the 1.3 million strong Army, Gen Naravane said a strategy of "resolute punitive response" has been evolved to punish cross-border terrorism.

He also said the Pakistan Army's all out efforts to deflect attention from state-sponsored terrorism has been a total failure and that the situation in Kashmir has improved significantly after the abrogation of Article 370.

"The Pakistan Army's proxy war design received setback due to elimination of terrorists and decimation of terror networks (by India)," he said.

Asked how he will deal with Pakistan backed terrorism, he said, "Multiple options across the spectrum of conflict are on the table to respond to any act of terror sponsored or abetted by Pakistan."

On security challenges along the 3,500 km border with China, Gen Naravane said the focus has shifted from the Western border to the Northern border as part of re-balancing priorities.

"We will continue to improve capability building along the Northern border so we are prepared when the need arises," he said.

Referring to the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff, he said it will greatly change the way the defence establishment operates and will bring about significant reforms in the entire military system.

His main focus as will be to make the Army ready to face any threat at any time, the general said.

According to him, the bottomline for reform in the Army will be to increase efficiency and operational readiness.

First Published: Tue, December 31 2019. 17:55 IST