A day after taking over as India’s 30th army chief, General Upendra Dwivedi on Monday drew attention to the unique operational challenges confronting the force even as he underlined the need to remain prepared for the emerging threats and called for equipping soldiers with modern weapons and technology.

Army chief General Upendra Dwivedi. (PTI)

In his maiden address as army chief, he also touched upon indigenisation of military hardware, synergy among the three services and welfare measures for soldiers and their families.

“The Indian Army faces unique operational challenges and to remain prepared for such threats and distinctive requirements, it is crucial that we continuously equip our soldiers with state-of-the-art weapons and technology and continue to evolve our warfighting strategies,” Dwivedi said after inspecting a guard of honour.

The geopolitical landscape is changing rapidly, and technology is evolving at a very fast pace, he said.

He has assumed charge at a time when the military standoff between India and China in the Ladakh sector is now in its fifth year, steps are being taken to create theatre commands for the best use of the military’s resources to fight future wars, indigenisation of military hardware is one of the foremost priorities for the government and some National Democratic Alliance (NDA) allies have called for a review of the Agnipath scheme for the short-term recruitment of soldiers.

“This is a moment of immense pride and honour for me to be assigned the responsibility to lead the Indian Army. The glorious traditions of the army rest on the legacy of valour and sacrifice of our soldiers. I pay my solemn tributes to the bravehearts who made supreme sacrifice in the line of duty,” he said.

Dwivedi was commissioned into 18 Jammu and Kashmir Rifles in 1984.

On indigenisation, he said, “The Indian Army is on the ‘path to transformation’ and we aspire to be ‘Atmanirbhar’ (self-reliant). To achieve this, we will encourage Indigenous Initiatives and induct maximum war systems and equipment that are manufactured in our country.”

India has taken a raft of measures during the last five to six years to boost self-reliance in the defence manufacturing sector. Apart from a series of phased import bans, these steps include creating a separate budget for buying locally made military hardware, increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) from 49% to 74% and improving ease of doing business.

He highlighted the significance of synergy among the three services.

“It will be my endeavour to ensure that the Indian Army is always ready to operate in the full spectrum of conflict, maintaining complete synergy with the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and other stakeholders. This will ensure that India’s interests are secured, and we become a major pillar of nation building to achieve the vision of ‘Viksit Bharat-2047’,” he said, adding that the army was fully capable and ready to face all current and future challenges.

In a military career spanning 40 years, he has served as deputy chief in the Army Headquarters, the General Officer Commanding of the Yol-based HQs 9 Corps, director general of infantry, and Inspector General Assam Rifles in the Northeast. He also commanded his battalion in the Kashmir valley and Rajasthan.

“It will be my priority to ensure that the interests and welfare of all ranks and defence civilians of the Indian Army are looked after. My responsibility towards veterans, veer naris and their families is a sacred commitment and I assure this extended family my full support,” Dwivedi added.

Known in the army as a decisive and innovative leader, he has a unique distinction of balanced command and staff exposure across Northern, Eastern and Western theatres, in varied operational environments.