Army ready for all challenges: chief

New Delhi, Jan 15: The Indian Army is ready for “all challenges”, General Bikram Singh said Tuesday, a day after he asserted the army’s right to retaliate for the beheading of a soldier by Pakistanis.

“I want to assure the nation that the Indian Army is prepared to face all challenges and foil the designs of the enemy,” Bikram Singh said on the occasion of the 65th Army Day here.

Amid tensions along the Jammu and Kashmir border, he said the operational preparedness of the Indian military was at the highest level.

“I am proud to say that the Indian Army has been able to fulfil the country’s expectations,” he said.

“Our country has been facing both internal as well as external challenges. Let me assure you that the Indian Army is ready for all the challenges,” he said.

Gen Bikram Singh said the army was increasing its surveillance capacity.

“We are laying emphasis on surveillance through unmanned aerial vehicles and attack helicopters will be inducted into the aviation wing.”

He said army’s record on maintaining human rights was the best in the world.

“All commanders should keep in mind the secular and non-political image of the army and work in the task of nation building,” he said.

Earlier, the army chief paid homage at the Amar Jawan Jyoti at India Gate here. Gallantry awards were presented to soldiers.

Gen Bikram Singh Monday described the killing of two Indian soldiers – one of whom was beheaded – by Pakistani troops Jan 8 as “an unpardonable act” and said his forces reserved the “right to retaliate”.

Army Day is celebrated Jan 15. It is the day Lt Gen K.M. Cariappa took over as the first commander-in-chief of the Indian Army from Sir Francis Butcher, the last British commander, in 1948.