Army should stay put in Siachen, says General Bikram Singh

Chief of Army Staff General Bikram Singh has said the Army should stay put in the Siachen because of the strategic advantage there.

He was speaking to journalists at the Indian Naval Academy (INA) here on Saturday after reviewing the passing out parade of the naval cadets.

Gen. Singh, responding to a question on the Siachen, however, said that it was for the government to take a decision on the pullout from the glacier. “I feel that we need to stay there because of the strategic advantage and if we have to pull out from there we have to do it very diligently after a great deal of deliberations,” he said.

Any withdrawal of personnel from the Siachen should be from the position of advantage to the nation, he said, adding that the Army had put across its concerns to the government.

To a question on the stalled bilateral military exercises with the Chinese armed forces, the Army Chief said the relations between the two countries were absolutely perfect. “We have peace and tranquillity on the border.” In case any issue cropped up, there was a mechanism in place to defuse the situation, he said.

To another question relating to India’s concerns about China’s strategic interests in the region, he said India and China were competitors. “Both are aspiring to grow in strategic profile,” he said. “As the Prime Minister said on many occasions, there is enough space for both the countries to grow together.”

On the measures being taken to address the shortfall of arms and ammunition, Gen. Singh said such a situation prevailed in all armed forces. The Army, however, had initiated measures to address it. To a question on the shortage of officers in the Army, he said the armed forces were trying to launch a campaign to inform students and parents of the positive aspects of joining the forces.

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