Indian Army secular, apolitical: Top Commander

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Lt Gen. Manoj Kumar Katiyar, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command, highlighted the robustness of the Indian Army and underscored its “apolitical” and “secular nature.” Addressing soldiers at the Western Command’s Investiture Ceremony on Saturday, Lt Gen. Katiyar emphasized the significance of adhering to these principles, stating that any compromise would be detrimental to the army.

The commander stressed the Indian Army’s commitment to secularism and political neutrality, stating, “We strictly adhere to two important principles: our secular approach and our apolitical character, respecting all religions and steering clear of politics.”

In a video snippet of the ceremony, Lt Gen. Katiyar mentioned the crucial role women soldiers will play in future wars, with plans underway for their recruitment.

Discussing the future landscape of warfare, he acknowledged the enduring importance of soldiers despite technological advancements. Lt Gen. Katiyar urged all ranks to prioritize professional development and physical fitness, anticipating high-tech battles in challenging terrains.

Lt Gen. Katiyar, who assumed his current post in July 2023, previously served as the Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) for the Indian Army. His distinguished service earned him the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal in 2021.

On India’s 76th Army Day, Lt Gen. Katiyar’s insights into the army’s values resonate. Army Day commemorates the day when India’s Army was separated from British command, with Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa becoming the first Commander-in-Chief on January 15, 1949. The 2024 Army Day celebration, known as Shaurya Sandhya, will be held in Lucknow, with Gen Manoj Pandey taking the salute, and defense minister Rajnath Singh in attendance. The theme for Army Day 2024 is “In Service of the Nation,” aligning with the Indian Army’s motto, “Service Before Self.”

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