Sunday 23 October 2016

New Army Chief Warns Pak on Beheading-Like Incident

New Delhi
File-PTI Photo

On his first day in office, Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag today warned Pakistan that India's response to any beheading-like incident in future would be "more than adequate, intense and immediate".

"I can tell you that our response to any such act will be more than adequate in future. It will be intense and immediate," he told reporters after his welcome Guard of Honour as Chief of Army Staff.

The new Army Chief was asked how did India give a 'befitting reply' to Pakistan after the beheading of Indian soldier Lance Naik Hemraj along the Line of Control in Poonch sector on January 8, last year by Pakistani troops.

Previous Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh had yesterday stated that India had given a befitting reply to Pakistan after the beheading incident.

"It has been done. Please understand that when we use force, that use is from tactical to operational to strategic levels.

"When I mention that during that incident, it was aimed at operations at the tactical level, which have been undertaken. I think this has been done by the local commander, the Chiefs have nothing to do with it," Gen Singh had said.

Pakistani Special Forces under the Border Area Teams (BAT) had carried out the operation of beheading Hemraj and mutilitating the body of Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh.

Later in August, they had also killed five Indian troops in the same sector in a joint attack by Pakistani Special Forces and LeT terrorists.

Gen Suhag also expressed his gratitude to the government "for reposing faith" in him.

BJP had earlier opposed the process of designating Gen Suhag as the new Chief by the UPA government in its last days in office in May.

But soon after NDA came in power, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley had said that the new government would continue with the appointment made during UPA's tenure. Questions were also raised over his appointment by Union Minister and former Army Chief Gen V K Singh.

Listing out his focus areas, Gen Suhag said they "would be to enhance operational preparedness and the effectiveness of the Indian Army".

"Force modernisation, infrastructure development, optimisation of human resources, welfare of serving personnel and ex-servicemen are issues that are very close to my heart."

He said he would do his best for the welfare of men behind the gun and "to provide them the required equipment and weapons for performing their assigned roles".

After taking over, Gen Suhag is expected to visit the Ladakh area which is the scene of major Chinese transgressions and incursions.

Suhag is expected to asses the situation at Depsang, Chumar and Demchok in his maiden visit to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) likely on August 12. However, the Army Headquarters said the visit is not yet finalised.

Depsang plains saw high tension face-off between Indian and Chinese troops last year when People's Liberation Army troops entered 19 kms inside Indian territory and pitched tents there.

They went back to their actual positions after extensive parleys between the two sides at the local and government level.

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