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Army Chief General Manoj Pande on Wednesday emphasised self-reliance in military production, stating that it is important that the country is able to source sustenance equipment like ammunition indigenously and develops its own capabilities and adequate thrust is being laid in this direction. Speaking at the Times Now Summit, General Pande said the country’s import dependency “should be near zero”. “It will be a strategic imperative in the future to be self-reliant. It is important that we are able to source sustenance equipment like ammunition indigenously.

Even technology, if we import we will always remain one cycle behind. It is important to develop our own capabilities and adequate emphasis is being done. Our import dependencies need to be near zero,” he said. “Exercise Bharat Shakti in Pokhran was to demonstrate the ongoing efforts towards capability development through Atmanirbharta.

We were able to demonstrate the robustness of our indigenous systems,” he added. General Pande also highlighted the ongoing advancements in use of technology in wars. “Conventional combat will no longer determine victory in future – niche critical tech, unmanned weapons are out of the conventional domain. It is important how efficient we are in leveraging from the technology within our country and those available commercially.” The Army Chief said the lesson learnt from the various conflicts around the world showed that countries would not hesitate to go to war over national interests.

Responding to a question on how prepared the Army is to meet challenges on the Northern border given the Chinese presence along the border, Gen Pande said the Army was focused and had a robust system in place. “We are very prepared, robust and balanced in terms of components that military has. We have made sure that we have adequate reserves.

We have our response mechanism firmly in place. As far as talks go, there have been 21 rounds of talks at the Military Corp Commander level and 14 rounds of WMCC diplomatic talks. It is my belief that only through talks can the matter at hand be resolved,” he said. “While we are focusing on talks we are also focusing on developmental work.Preparedness levels are very high, (there is) close watch on developments across borders,” he added.