Outgoing Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Tuesday thanked all the army personnel and their families for extending full support to him in his three year tenure at the helm of the 1.3 million force.
After a farewell Guard of Honour, Gen Rawat also hoped that the Army will rise to greater heights under the new chief Lt Gen M M Naravane.
When asked wether the Army is better prepared now to face the security challenges facing the country he said: "Yes, we are better prepared." Gen Rawat who interacted with media persons after receiving the Guard of Honour in the forecourt of the South Block also paid respects to the fallen soldiers at the National War Memorial on a chilly winter day.
"I express my gratitude to all soldiers who have stood steadfast under challenging circumstances, performing their duties, keeping the traditions of our armed forces. My special complement to our soldiers on northern, western and eastern borders who are braving tough winter and icy winds, steadfastly in guarding our country," Gen Rawat said.
Gen Rawat also congratulated Lt Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane who will shortly take charge as the 28th Chief of Army Staff.
"I convey my best to each and every rank and file of Indian Army. I also congratulate Gen Naravane on being the next Army Chief. He is a very competent and capable officer. Gen Naravane through his competence and professionalism will take Army to greater heights," Gen Rawat said.
Gen Rawat who has been appointed India's first Chief of Defence Staff will helm the newly created department of military affairs. The tri-service agencies, organisations and commands relating to cyber and space will be under the command of the CDS, and he will also function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authority.
Asked about his priorities as the CDS, he said, "I totally focussed on my job as a Chief of Army Staff. I will think about my next job after I assume the next office." Gen Rawat assumed charge as Chief of Army Staff on December 31, 2016 and retires from the post after a distinguished career.
Before becoming the Army Chief, he handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the LoC with Pakistan, the LAC with China and in the Northeast.