JAMMU, Sept 18: The Army is fully prepared to meet any challenge, like the use of drones and social media, by adversaries to safeguard the country, Commandant of Chennai-based Officers Training Academy (OTA) Lieutenant General M K Das said on Saturday.
Lt Gen Das, who is also the colonel of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) regiment, said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is getting better with the Army and other security agencies working together to stamp out terrorism.
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Speaking to media persons on the sidelines of the maiden attestation parade of 460 new recruits of the 126th batch after a successful 40-week training period at Dansal here, he said the Indian Army is aware of the challenges and prepared to give a befitting response to the enemies of the nation.
Responding to a question about the need to introduce special training courses for soldiers in the aftermath of the developments in Afghanistan, the Army officer said “our training is very contemporary as it caters for all the contingencies and unforeseen situations.”
“I have no doubt that my young soldiers who have taken the oath to defend the constitution and the country will live up to all the challenges. One of the unique things of this regiment (JAKLI) is that all our troops hail from J&K and Ladakh. Therefore, they have this ingrained quality to be security conscious much more than others,” he said.
Lauding the regiment for its exceptional and outstanding record in all counter-insurgency operations within and outside the country since its birth in 1947, Lt Gen Das said, “All the situations unfolding in the country or in our neighbourhood, I am more than confident that the JAKLI regiment will continue to excel and be the lead agency in the fight against terrorism.”
Asked about the challenges posed by the use of drones to hit targets and deliver weapons and narcotics from across the Line of Control and International Border, he said a capsule course on anti-drone measures was introduced to deal with the challenge.
During recruitment training, he said that besides the arms handing and exercises, thrust is also given on science and technology, cybersecurity and other new challenges that are followed by orientation training courses at the respective units where anti-drone measures were also introduced.
He said the misuse of social media by “anti-national” elements is a reality and the new recruits are being trained in cybersecurity during their basic as well as orientation courses.
On attempts by Pakistan to mislead the youth of Jammu and Kashmir, he said the local youngsters are enthusiastically taking part in the recruitment to join JAKLI and serve the nation.
“The youth of J&K is showing keenness to be a part of the regiment which is a message to those who think they can mislead our youth. Joining the regiment is the best way to serve the nation… The youth, irrespective of their religion, live like a family and there is complete communal harmony,” he said.
He said the regiment is increasing the number of local youth from Ladakh and would also go for recruitment in J&K to provide an opportunity to the local youth to become part of this regiment and avail a good career for themselves.
Asked about his message to the misguided youth who have joined terrorism, he said the nation and the leadership is concerned for them.
“J&K is the crown of India but if I focus as a soldier, I feel they (misguided youth) have not understood their country… the situation has not gone out of hand and the Army has kept its window open to allow them to surrender and join the national mainstream,” he said.
He said there are numerous examples where the local youth have become an inspiration for others after shunning the path of violence. “We have a unit of 162 Infantry Territorial Army in JAKLI who are former militants but after training, they have become upright soldiers.”
A total of 460 well-trained recruits joined the army as young soldiers after a successful attestation parade at Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) centre.
However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony was conducted without the parents of the recruits following all the norms and advisors.
Recruit Peer Sartaj Ahmed Wani was awarded the Sher-e-Kashmir Sword of Honour and Triveni Singh Medal for being adjudged ‘Overall Best Recruit’, while recruit Amandeep Singh Chib was awarded the Chewang Rinchen Medal for being ‘Best in Firing’.
Recruit Parmeet Sharma was awarded the Maqbool Sherwani Medal for being ‘Best in Physical Training’ and Recruit Mohd Asad was awarded the Bana Singh Medal for being ‘Best in Drill’, the spokesperson said.