In a press conference leading up to Army Day, Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Manoj Pande highlighted concerns over the situation along the Indo-Myanmar border and the increasing terrorist activities in the Rajouri-Poonch sector of Jammu and Kashmir. General Pande described the northern border, especially Ladakh, as “stable yet sensitive” while emphasizing ongoing talks at both military and diplomatic levels to resolve issues with China.
The Indo-Chinese border has been a focal point of tensions for over three years, with a recent disengagement from some areas following extensive diplomatic and military discussions. General Pande reassured the public that operational preparedness remained high, with a well-balanced deployment of forces.
In Jammu and Kashmir, the COAS acknowledged the adherence to the ceasefire understanding along the Line of Control (LoC). Despite infiltration attempts, the Indian Army successfully thwarted such efforts, attributing their success to a robust anti-drone mechanism preventing the smuggling of weapons and narcotics.
However, General Pande expressed concerns about the rise in terrorist incidents in the Rajouri-Poonch sector, particularly in the last 5-6 months. He noted that peace in the area was established between 2003 and 2017-18 but suggested that adversaries, likely referencing Pakistan, were encouraging proxy groups in response to the overall improvement in the Kashmir Valley’s situation.
Addressing the situation along the Indo-Myanmar border, General Pande drew attention to the impact of activities by the Myanmar army and ethnic armed organizations. He highlighted instances of Myanmar army personnel and Bhutanese civilians seeking shelter in Indian territories. The COAS also mentioned insurgent groups attempting to cross the border into the state of Manipur, expressing the need to closely monitor the situation.
To address emerging challenges, General Pande outlined the induction of new technologies and the restructuring of artillery and electronic warfare units. The Indian Army has incorporated better vehicles, drones, and counter-drone systems, as well as terrain-specific electronic warfare systems. The restructuring includes a reduction in animal transport units, replaced by drones, and a plan to optimize army strength by 2027, with a proposed reduction of 1 lakh (100,000) personnel.
The COAS concluded by noting the positive progress in integrating Agniveers into the Army, signifying ongoing efforts to enhance the force’s capabilities. As India faces diverse security challenges along its borders, the military’s proactive approach to technology integration and strategic restructuring reflects a commitment to maintaining a robust defence posture.