Tech advancements making battlespace more complex, says Army Chief Gen. Pande at UK parade

London: Disruptive technologies and innovations enhancing the capabilities of the instruments of war are making the present-day battlespace more complex and lethal, Army Chief General Manoj Pande said during his UK visit on Thursday.

In his historic address as the first Indian to represent King Charles III at the Sovereign’s Parade at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, Gen. Pande said it is the unwavering resolve, courage and valour of soldiers on the battlefield that will determine the ultimate victory.

In a motivational speech for the 185 Officer Cadets of Commissioning Course No. 223 who pass out from the prestigious academy with the customary parade, the army chief called on them to lead by example as they “don the mantle of a military leader” and hone their ability to adapt to change.

“While the character of warfare is undergoing a change, the potential of the disruptive technologies, advancements in cyber, space and innovation domains and progression in the capabilities of the instruments of war are making the present-day battlespace more complex and lethal,” he said.

“The recent and ongoing conflicts have brought to the fore many important lessons at the strategic, operational and tactical levels. The import of these will serve as pointers as you prepare for future wars,” he said.

The army chief stressed that the significance of the man or woman behind the gun remains undiminished, despite the tech advancements and the changing nature of modern-day warfare.

In his role as the Sovereign’s Representative, Gen. Pande represented the British monarch as the Inspecting Officer for the 201st Sovereign’s Parade at the military academy in Berkshire, south-east England.

The senior general was escorted by the academy’s Commandant, Major General Zac Stenning, as he inspected the ranks of the Senior Division on parade, made up of those who have completed the 44-week long commissioning course, stopping periodically to chat with the male and female cadets standing to attention before him.

Gen. Pande, who was accompanied by wife Archana, also presented the awards for the top performing cadets on the course as the King’s representative.

The Sword of Honour went to Senior Under Officer WJ Clark, considered by the Commandant to be the best cadet in the intake, ahead of his commission into the Royal Gurkha Rifles.

The Queen’s Medal went to Officer Cadet Grimbaldeston-Cherry for the top military, academic and practical scores in the intake.

The International Sword was conferred upon Officer Cadet Daniel Chintu from Zambia, considered to be the best International Cadet, and the International Award went to Officer Cadet Paul Milbers from Germany as the top international cadet in military, academic and practical scores.

In addition to those passing out into the British Army, there were 43 international cadets from 28 countries from as far afield as Ethiopia to Papua New Guinea. They will return to their respective militaries taking with them the best leadership training available to serve as commissioned officers.

Gen. Pande said their involvement was a reflection of the “highest standards and worldwide reputation of this prestigious academy”.

Meanwhile, the new British cadets would need to wait a few hours until the stroke of midnight on Friday to officially take up their King’s Commission duly celebrated with friends and family at the Commissioning Ball.

The Sovereign’s Parade closed in time-honoured fashion with the Sword of Honour winner, Officer Cadet Clark, being the last to march into Old College closely followed by the Academy Adjutant, Major Andrew Dunlop, riding up the steps and in through the doors on his horse Sovereign’s Shadow.

Earlier this week, Gen. Pande received a ceremonial Guard of Honour at Horse Guards Parade in London at the start of his four-day visit to the UK on Thursday.

The Indian Army has dubbed the visit a momentous milestone in strengthening the diplomatic, military, and cultural ties between India and the UK, promoting mutual cooperation and understanding in the realms of defence and security.