India's new Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag today warned that India's response to any provocation by Pakistan (such as the beheading of a soldier last year) would be "more than adequate; intense and immediate".
The now retired Chief of Army Staff Gen Bikram Singh had said before handing over to Gen Suhag on Thursday that India gave a "befitting reply" after an Indian soldier was beheaded by Pakistani troops in January 2013.
Asked to clarify today what that "befitting reply" was, the new Army chief said, "My predecessor has already conveyed this yesterday, I can only tell you that our response to any such act will be more than adequate in future and it will be intense and immediate,".
He was speaking to reporters after inspecting a guard of honour welcoming him as the new commander.
Lance Naik Hemraj Singh was beheaded and another soldier was killed by Pakistani troops who crossed over into Indian territory in the Mendhar sector of Jammu and Kashmir on 8 January last year. That incident and a series of ceasefire violations took the strained ties between the neighbours to a new low.
Later in August, five Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush in the same sector, in a joint attack by Pakistani Special Forces and terrorists.
General Suhag said he would prioritise the effectiveness of the 1.3 million-strong force. "My focus will be my soldiers ... to enhance the preparedness and the effectiveness of the Indian Army. I will ensure that our soldiers are motivated, they are comfortable, competently trained and are provided with latest weapons and equipment," he said.