New Delhi: Army chief General M.M. Naravane Saturday said the forces owe their allegiance to the Constitution of the country and are fighting to protect the core values of justice, equality and fraternity, enshrined in the Preamble.
The statement of the new Army chief, who took over on 31 December, came amid allegations that the forces are being politicised.
Addressing the annual press conference ahead of the 72nd Army Day 15 January, Naravane said the Indian Army is of the people of India and for the people of India.
Answering a question on whether he agrees with the statement of his predecessor and current Chief of Defense Staff General Bipin Rawat on the students protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, Naravane said the Army’s role is to “uphold the core values”.
“We respect the fundamental rights of the citizens. If we remember this, then we will not go wrong in the discharge of our duties. We are an Army of the people and for the people, and whatever we do, will be for them, he said.
Naravane said his focus was on ‘ABC’ — “allegiance, belief and consolidation”.
“We swear allegiance to the Constitution of India, be it a jawan or an officer. We have taken oath. And that is what should guide us in all our actions at all times,” said the Army chief.
He added that the Preamble of the Constitution has the core values of justice, equality and fraternity.
“And that is what we are fighting for. We are deployed on the border to secure for our people these core values,” he added.
‘Not seeking any publicity’
General M.M. Naravane’s comments came after the previous chief, Rawat, drew criticism from various quarters for speaking on issues outside the domain of the Indian Army, including student protests. The talk of Army operations around election time had also led to allegations that the force was being politicised.
Asked if he would continue to speak strongly on issues, like his predecessor, to project the forces, Naravane said, “Indian Army believes in doing its job and we are not seeking any publicity. We will continue to the same way of serving the nation to the best of our ability.”
Speaking on other focus areas, he said the training, integration, personnel and quality of equipment would be his area of interests.
Hailing from the 7 Sikh Light Infantry, Naravane, who was the vice-chief of the Army, has 37 years of service and is known in military circles as the “quintessential Army man”.
Before being appointed vice-chief of the Army, Naravane headed the crucial Eastern Command that takes care of India’s nearly 4,000-km-long border with China.