15 January, New Delhi
Warning Pakistan but without naming it, Army chief General Bipin Rawat said on Sunday that India desired peace but will give a befitting reply if peace was disrupted.
Speaking at the Army Day function here, he also warned soldiers against using social media for airing their grievances, adding it could result in punishment.
The celebration, marked with customary parade and military display, also saw a “surgical strike” — like the one the Indian Army carried out on terrorist bases in Pakistani territory in September last year.
The Army Chief gave away 15 gallantry awards, including five posthumous ones.
Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, who died in an avalanche at Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield, was among the award winners.
Speaking at Delhi Cantonment, the Army chief said without naming Pakistan that India wanted peace despite the support given to the proxy war being waged against New Delhi.
“Despite the support given to the proxy war, we want peace on the Line of Control (LoC). However, any ceasefire violation will get a befitting reply.”
The LoC divides Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
The General said Indian military power would be on display if peace on the border was disrupted.
“We want peace on the border. But any attempt to disrupt the peace will not be tolerated. Our attempts to establish peace at the border should not be seen as a weakness.
“We want to extend a hand of friendship, but are also warning those who disrupt peace that we will display our power as well,” he said.
Gen Rawat asked the Army, Air Force and Navy to work together to face the upcoming challenges.
“It is important that all three forces work together. This will be the key to success.
“I want to assure the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and other forces that they will always get support from the Army.”
The Army chief also warned soldiers against using social media to air their grievances and asked them to approach him directly if their problems were not resolved.
“A few colleagues are using social media to share their problems. It affects the morale of the jawans and thereby the army.”
He asked soldiers to use the established channels, and said: “If you are not happy with the action, you can contact me directly.”
But he warned those using the social media: “You can be held guilty for this and invite punishment.”
The General went on: “We have the capacity to tackle cyber attacks, yet, we have to be careful against the enemy elements on social media, and also ask our families to be alert about it.”
The comments come after a Lance Naik alleged in a video that “jawans are being exploited in the Army by officers”.
The Army chief inspected a parade, which showcased marching contingents and mechanised columns. On display were Brahmos missiles.
This was followed by a display by an army motorcycle team and a combat drill that brought alive the “surgical strike”.
The operation showed soldiers slithering down a helicopter and destroying an enemy brigade headquarters while Pinaka rockets and Bofors guns provided cover support.
The Army Day is celebrated on January 15 to commemorate the day when Lt Gen K.M. Cariappa took over as the Commander-in-Chief of India in 1949 from General Sir Francis Butcher.