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Ready to face any threat from China: Army chief

Source: PTI
Last updated on: April 01, 2010 12:30 IST
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The Indian Army is well prepared to face any threat from China, new chief General V K Singh told reporters on Thursday

Concurring with the concerns expressed by the defence ministry over Chinese military's modernisation plans, General Singh said the forces will stand up and measure up to any challenge that the nation faced.

"The concern expressed is correct. Through you, I would like to pass it on to our countrymen that our Army -- and it is their Army -- will stand up to and measure up to any challenge that the nation will face," he told reporters before assuming office.

He said the government had increased the allocation for the Army in this year's budget and "our effort would be to utilise it to be well prepared."

Asked how the Indian Army measured up vis-a-vis the Chinese Rapid Action Force, General Singh said, "I can assure you that for any challenges that are against us, we are very well prepared."

He noted that preparation was an ongoing process and that the Army would ensure its training methodologies became more practical keeping all challenges in mind.

The defence ministry has, in its annual report for 2009-10, said it was 'conscious and alert' about China's military modernisation and infrastructure development in Tibet and adjoining areas. The report said the ministry has taken 'necessary steps' to restructure its force levels along the border.

During his stint as the Army chief, said General Singh, he will focus attention on improving the 'internal health' of the force to weed out corrupt practices.

"Internal health is very important. And for any organisation to do well, it must ensure its internal health is good. To that extent, that's why I said that our core values, our ethos, tradition will receive due attention," General Singh told reporters just before assuming office as the 26th chief of the Indian Army.

He was replying to a question on the corruption charges against Lieutenant General (retired) Avadesh Prakash in the Sukhna land scam case.

"Till the time our internal health is good, we will not be able to fight the external threats. So, we will focus our attention on improving the internal health," he added.

The General said it was a moment of pride and he felt humbled at the opportunity to head the Indian Army. "We intend to ensure that our core values, our rich traditions and professionalism gets a boost and that would be my main priority," he said.

General Singh was in the media glare when he had, as the Eastern Army Commander in Kolkata, recommended the sacking of the then Military Secretary Lieutenant General Prakash in the land scam case.

Prakash was a senior adviser to former Army chief General Deepak Kapoor. He was accused of allegedly 'influencing' the sale of 71 acres of land near the Sukna military base in Darjeeling district of West Bengal to a private realtor.

Three other General-rank officers were also indicted by an Army probe in the scam. General Kapoor, who retired on Wednesday, initiated disciplinary proceedings against two of them and administrative action against others.

Kapoor's decision to initiate administrative action against Prakash did not go down well with the defence ministry, which advised him to overturn it and order a court martial against the military secretary.

After Kapoor ordered the court martial, Prakash first approached the Armed Forces Tribunal against the action, which asked the Army to provide him an opportunity to question the witnesses in the court of inquiry.

He later moved the Supreme Court, which granted a stay against the court martial proceedings against him.

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