New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: General Manoj Pande, the newly appointed Chief of Staff of the Indian Army, on Sunday said his "foremost" focus would be to "ensure high standards of operational preparedness" as the country continues to face "contemporary and future challenges" in the region.

Speaking to the media after he was presented a ceremonial guard of honour at the South Block lawns in New Delhi, General Pande said he would also ensure the modernisation of forces and make the Army 'Aatmanirbharta',

"I would like to focus on ongoing reforms, restructuring, and transformation so as to enhance the Army's operational and functional efficiency. The aim will be to enhance inter-Service cooperation," General Pande was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

"The geopolitical situation is changing rapidly, and we've many challenges, it's the Indian Army's duty to remain ready to tackle any challenges in coordination with all sister Services. My endeavour will be to take forward the work done by my predecessors," he added.

The new Army chief also said that his force, in coordination with the Indian Air Force and Navy, will effectively deal with all possible security challenges facing the nation.

General Pande, Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, and Admiral R Hari Kumar hail from the 61st course of the National Defence Academy (NDA).

When asked about the opportunity to lead the Indian Army, General Pande called it a "matter of pride" that he was given the leadership role. He said the Army has a glorious past, maintaining the security and integrity of the nation, and contributing towards nation-building.

"All officers of the Indian Army from its different arms and services get an equal opportunity for career and professional growth. In senior leadership positions, all officers are trained and oriented on all aspects of warfighting," ANI quoted General Pande as saying.

General Pande, who was serving as the Vice Chief, on Saturday took charge as the 29th Chief of the Indian Army after incumbent General MM Naravane retired from service. He is first-ever officer from the Corps of Engineers to take the reins of the 1.3 million-strong force.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma