New Delhi: Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande on Sunday said the Indian Army will face every challenge that comes its way together with the sister services and that ensuring high standards of operational preparedness would be his foremost priority.
“The geo-political situation in the world is changing rapidly, posing several challenges before India. The Indian Army will face every challenge that comes our way together with the sister services. We are prepared for every serious situation. I will try to carry forward the good work of my predecessor,” he said, while interacting with Defence correspondents, after receiving the Guard of Honour at South Block lawns.
Ensuring high standards of operational preparedness to face the challenges would be his foremost priority, added the Army Chief. He said, “My utmost and foremost priority would be to ensure very high standards of operational preparedness to face the current, contemporary and future challenges through the entire spectrum of conflict.
“Secondly, in terms of capability development and forced modernisation, my effort would be to leverage new technologies through the process of indigenisation and aatmnirbharta,” he added.
Gen Manoj Pande took over as the 29th chief of the Indian Army, when Gen MM Naravane superannuated on Saturday, after four decades of illustrious service. “It is a matter of pride and honour for me that I have been handed over the leadership of the Indian Army. I accept it with full humility,” said Gen Pande. “The welfare of the soldiers, ex-servicemen and veer naris would be my foremost priority,” he added.
Further, the General said, “The Indian Army has a glorious tradition and has contributed significantly in ensuring security and integrity of the country. The Army has also contributed to nation building. I would like to assure through you that Indian Army will be fully committed to the values of freedom, liberty and equality,” IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar were also present at the Guard of Honour for Gen Manoj Pande.
All the three Service Chiefs are from the 61st NDA course now. “Three of us have trained together in our formative years. Not only that, later as we grew in service, we have had occasions to work together. We are fortunate to have once again got this opportunity and chance to work together,” Gen Pande said.
“I have known the other two Service Chiefs very well, it’s a good beginning and good indication of synergy, cooperation and jointsmanship in the Services,” he added.
Gen Pande was holding the position of Vice Chief of the Army so far. He is the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to become the Army Chief. Earlier, he held the role of Eastern Army Commander and looked after India’s borders with China, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
He is an alumnus of the National Defence Academy and was commissioned in December 1982 in the Corps of Engineers (The Bombay Sappers). The new Army Chief has commanded 117 Engineer Regiment during Operation Parakram in the sensitive Pallanwala Sector of Jammu and Kashmir, along the Line of Control.
Gen Pande is a graduate of Staff College, Camberley (United Kingdom) and attended the Higher Command (HC) and National Defence College (NDC) Courses.
In his 39 years of distinguished military career, he has tenanted important and challenging command and staff appointments in different operational environments, which include command of an Engineer Brigade in the Western Theatre, as part of Strike Corps, an Infantry Brigade along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, a Mountain Division in the High Altitude Area of Western Ladakh and command of a Corps, deployed along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and in Counter Insurgency Operations area of Eastern Command.
Gen Pande’s staff exposures include Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade in the North East, Assistant Military Secretary (AMS) in Military Secretary’s Branch, Colonel Q of a Mountain Division in High Altitude Area and Brigadier General Staff (Operations) at Headquarters Eastern Command.
The General Officer has served as Chief Engineer in the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea. He has also tenanted the appointments of Additional Director General in the Military Operations Directorate at Army Headquarters, Chief of Staff Headquarters Southern Command and Director General Discipline Ceremonial and Welfare at the Army Headquarters.
He was Commander-in-Chief, Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN) from June 2020 to May 2021 and General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command from June, 2021 to January, 2022. He has been conferred with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, Vishisht Seva Medal, the Chief of Army Staff Commendation and twice with the GOC-in-C Commendation.