'Strict Adherence to Secular Approach', Apolitical Character Makes Indian Army Stand Out: Top Commander

Lt Gen Manoj Kumar Katiyar, while addressing soldiers over the weekend, outlined core strengths and principles without which he said, the army would be harmed.

New Delhi: Lt Gen. Manoj Kumar Katiyar, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the Western Command has underlined the strength of the Indian Army, its “apolitical” and “secular nature”. He said that any compromise on these principles will hurt the army.

“What makes the Indian Army stand out is that we strictly adhere to the two important principles, the first one being our secular approach and second, our apolitical character. It means we respect all religions and steer clear of politics,” Lt Gen. Katiyar said, addressing soldiers at the Investiture Ceremony of the Western Command on January 13, Saturday.

“It is necessary to stick to apolitical and secular principles and recognise the fact that any compromise or lack of adherence on these fronts will be harmful for the army,” he added. 

A short video of the commander saying these words is available here.

Lt Gen. Katiyar said that women soldiers will play a very important role in any future war. “A blueprint is being prepared for the recruitment of women soldiers in the army,” he said.

The news agency PTI reports that the chief of the Western Command of army noted significant acts of valour by Indian army personnel in the past as important to seek inspiration from. He noted that in warfare in the future, for all the talk of advancements in technology, the soldiers’ role will remain crucial. 

“All positions, all ranks also need to focus on their professional development and physical fitness because the next battle will be high-tech, and it will also be in difficult terrain,” he said. He spoke of the significance of “naam, namak, nishan” – name, salt, symbol – as values central to what soldiers stand for.

Lt Gen Katiyar took over this present post in July, 2023. Before this, he was the Director General of Military operations (DGMO) of the Indian Army. General Katiyar was conferred with the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal for distinguished service in 2021.

Army Day

Today, is India’s 76th Army Day. January 15 is observed as Army Day, each year. 

This commemorates the day India’s Army was detangled from the British. On 15 January 1949, Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa became the first Commander-in-chief after taking over from the British Commander-in-Chief General Francis Butcher.

Every year, the Parade is held at the Cariappa Parade Ground of Delhi Cantonment. But this year, it will be held at Lucknow. Gen Manoj Pandey, Indian Army Chief will take the salute. 

It has been termed the Shaurya Sandhya event, and defence minister Rajnath Singh will be present. The theme of Army Day 2024 is “In Service of the Nation”. The motto of the Indian Army, is, “Service Before Self.”