Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat’s Annual Press Conference Ahead of 71st Army Day

Shailesh Kumar, National Defence,
New Delhi, 10 January 2019

Watch Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat speaking that Army will not allow Gay Sex in Indian Army despite Supreme Court verdict decriminalizing Gay & LGBT Sex. He said “we are certainly not above Supreme Court. But then there were some rights not given to us by constitution e.g. you can form a union but we can not”.

On decriminalization of section 497 (adultery) by SC, he said “we can not allow this in Indian Army. Army is very conservative. We are neither modernized, nor westernized”.

Army Chief emphasized that he wants to remove disparity in cases of disabilities while mentioning need to differentiate between life style borne disabilities and battle causalities. Indian Army is to focus on identifying next of kins of battle causalities who are badly off. This is going to be the “year of the next of kins” to render support for next of kin of battle causality.

Army Chief clarified that anyone who wear olive green is a soldier. Everyone in Indian Army is a combatant. It is only about deployment of women at frontline. He was responding to the question of women in combat role in Indian Army. 

General Rawat said DRDO developed rocket can be introduced by February or March if Army find them good. There  have been safety issues. DRDO will continue research and meanwhile we will do trials but if they do not deliver on time, then we may go for ‘limited’ imports.

Apache helicopter will come by 2019 or 2020. Apache is a tank killer so Army will induct for strike formation. “It is a tank in Air”, he said.

LCH we will have it in Bangalore in Aero India. The altitude at which this helicopter operates, it is right kind of machine. DRDO is very keen of showcasing this to us.

On Pak allegations of Ceasefire violation by Army and on shooting down quad copter by Pakistan Army, Gen Rawat said that civilians do not come that close to border. Indian Army fires when terrorists attempt infiltration and given cover fire either to infiltrate or to return. The returning terrorists plant mines, for which Army use cheap private company made quadcopters for surveillance to contain mine casualties.   

Social media is there to use it. We can’t deny its use by armymen. But he has made sure that punishment to misuse of social media is exemplary in Indian Army.

Army Chief emphasized on the need to engage Taliban in unconditional talks. Situation has improved in Afghanistan. So some nations believe that if there can be lasting peace if Taliban can also be brought into the system of governance, so talks can be held. India has been involved in developmental works in Afghanistan. Chief ruled out Indian boots on Afghanistan.  

Army Chief on Mehbooba Mufti’s suggestion on talks with Hurriyat said Kashmir issue can not be compared with Afghanistan as Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan only. Talks and terror can not go together. Shun gun, stop violence. Conditions can not be made to conduct talks.  

On National War Memorial Army Chief said that this new one is a memorials for soldiers martyred post- independence whereas Amar Jawan Jyoti (India Gate) is for soldiers martyred pre-independence. If Government wants a memorial for Azad Hind Fauz, that can be accommodated in upcoming museum. Government has to take a call on it and Army will implement it. On issue of wreath laying at new war memorial or at Amar Jawan Jyoti, he said a discussion is already going on and a solution will be find out.

There can be many Iqras in the valley. Despite guns and bullet shower in Shopian, if she can achieve 99 percent then there can be many more iqras or Sujaat Bukhari if people of kashmir realize. Army is for the peace in the valley. It is the Kashmiri people who are the victims of terrorism and ultimate loosers in the game.

He hailed unity amongst security forces who now operate in Kashmir without blame game.

Army Chief talked of soft power of Indian Army shown by agreeing to clean ‘Dal lake’, regarded as Jannat of Kashmir.  

Modernisation is happening. Priority is infantry. Assault rifles. Bullet proof jackets. Software based radio sets  which allow hands free operation is on way to procurement. Army chief hailed modernization e.g Zipsy is replaced with Tata safari… ATGM and rockets mounted in them. Bullet proof jackets are coming.

Hand launched UAVs are also bought. sniper rifles are bought under two routes… Northern army commander under special powers bought which will be delivered from 20th January this year. Second route to buy sniper rifles is through capital route.

On Chinese border, we have been able to maintain peace.  Common directions had been issued to Northern, Western commands. In Laddakh, perception is a huge difference, which could be as much as 10 kilometers. Whereas in Easter or middle sector this is just a few 100 meters

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