Concerned over the rapid growth of Chinese infrastructure in the region, Antony arrived here on Friday on a two-day visit to the North-East to review the security situation and the progress of infrastructure development.
Addressing the officers and jawans at a Sainik Sammelan at the 3 Corps HQ at Ranga Pahar in Nagaland, he urged the Army personnel to ensure that the sense of pride and dignity of the Army is maintained at all times.
"I want to emphasise one issue for each one of you. A soldier is the pride of the nation. Honesty and loyalty are the basic traits of a soldier. Some recent instances of corruption in high places in the Army have brought some harm to its credibility and image," he said.
"All of you must perform duties with sincerity and ensure that the sense of pride and dignity of the Army is maintained at all times. We will take very strict action whenever any case of corruption comes, or is brought to our notice," Antony added.
The Defence Minister also asked the Army to be ever vigilant and keep a watchful eye on the smallest developments in and around India's neighbourhood.
He said though maintaining peace and tranquility along the border is crucial, "we have to ensure that our operational preparedness is of the highest level."
The Chief of the Army Staff, General VK Singh, Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Bikram Singh and the GOC 3 Corps Lt Gen NK Singh were present on the occasion.
Antony also asked the military personnel to establish a healthy relationship with the local populace, win the hearts and minds and to project the Army in a positive light.
He agreed with the suggestion given by a number of Jawans for the issue of a pair of boots every 12 months instead of the issue of the same under current provision of 26 months, and asked the officials to bring about this change. (ANI)