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Updated: April 5, 2012 01:34 IST

Absolutely baseless, says Antony

Prabhakkar Sharma
Comment (40)   ·   print   ·   T  T  
A.K. Antony
The Hindu
A.K. Antony

Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Wednesday denied that the Army had any sinister designs against the present UPA government.

Asked whether there were any fears of a coup in the wake of reports in a section of the media that a couple of Army units were seen marching towards Delhi in mid-January, he dismissed the whole thing as ‘absolutely baseless.' It was normal activity for the forces to be on the move and there was nothing unusual about it.

“We are absolutely confident about the patriotism of the Indian armed forces. I am proud of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force and also the Coast Guard,” he told journalists after induction of the nuclear-powered attack submarine INS Chakra into the Navy here.

Mr. Antony had one ‘humble request' to the media — “on issues affecting national security, Indian armed forces, we can't have the luxury of a controversy. India is a democracy, continues to be a democracy and the Indian armed forces will do everything to strengthen it.”

On the letter addressed to him by Army Chief General V.K. Singh, he said it was not unusual for senior officers to write letters to the Defence Minister. But, unfortunately this time, it was leaked. To another question whether he was aspiring to become the President, Mr. Antony replied: “I am not mad. I know my limits.”

The Minister said the Navy would get seven ships, including INS Chakra and the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, which was to be delivered in December. Also, 15 fast attack craft (FAC) would be acquired. The Navy would get five warships every year in the coming five years and the number of FACs would go up to 80.

To a question on the process of procuring the nuclear submarine from Russia, Mr. Antony said negotiations with a country or a vendor were a long process that sometimes involved amending certain procedures.

Only fools venture where angels fear to tread. Indian politicians and
their allies in the bureaucracy have for too long got used to trampling
on the rights of citizens and raping the wealth of the country, with no
holds barred corruption taking root. Something or somebody has to stop
the rot. Obviously these corrupt elements will fear an incorruptible
General at the head of a mighty army, even if the General has no
intention of proceeding against the Government.

from:  CS Venkat
Posted on: Apr 6, 2012 at 08:31 IST

Likely to be a hyped up story. Maybe an act of indiscipline for xyz
reason. But nothing beyond. Rest is sensationalism by media. But Defence
minister should keep his Gandhism at home and be more stronger with the
Generals. Actually antony is a good an tough man.

from:  J Krishnan
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 14:45 IST

First of all in India the Supreme Commander of Armed Forces is The
President, not like the case in pakistan wherein people like Abdul
Parvez Kayani can raid the country. And moreover this is a very depressing and sad issue that our people are debating on such a Rumor, such a thing cannot take place in India, WE ARE NOT CHINA!! The feel for patriotism may have died in our citizens but it is still the same in EACH AND EVERY SOLDIER OF MY COUNTRY, AND doubting them is like INSULTING THEIR TRUE RESPECT. THEY ARE READY TO SACRIFICE THEMSELVES ANY TIME FOR THEIR COUNTRY...

from:  Y.P.Baghel
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 13:59 IST

The only conceivable purpose of publishing unverified and unverifiable alarmist anti-national 'scoop' of a story is obvious - purely commercial and downright criminally profiting from selling the interests of the nation. The reader is led to believe that certain sections of all news agencies both in print and electronic media have been bought over or pressured into compromising circumstances by vested interests within and outside the nation who are trying their level best to somehow cause a pot-boil if not an outright war situation in the region - as otherwise, nations that depend entirely on arms exports for their questionable standard of luxury lifestyle at the expense of the rest of the developing world will otherwise require to increase the tax burden of their own citizens who have been drugged into thinking it is alright to enjoy high standards of living on permanent credit which never need be repaid.

from:  R N Iyengar
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 12:03 IST

The report to carry out a coup is totally baseless. Presuming the army
chief wanted to do this, he had to take atleast one army commander out
of the six into confidence, since an army chief can't bypass an army
commander to order troop movement. And if one of the army commander is
in confidence, I don't understand why 200,000 troops have not
descended with their tanks on to Delhi, nothing the Delhi police can
do about it. This is the perfect example of paid journalism. Shame
Shekhar Gupta. This depicts to how much has corruption seeped into our
country. The arms lobby with the backing of corrupt bureaucrats and
politicians now want to change the topic from corruption to coup.

from:  Rakesh Sharma
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 07:29 IST

To our media, may we request them to act and publish articles or news in a more responsible manner avoiding cheap publicity stunts.In a democracy both the politicians and the press should function with the upper most concern for the safety and the integrity of the Nation. If they indulge like urchins they would harm the fair name of the Nation but also invite possible troubles from our enemies. Again a responsible press should desist spreading sensational and false rumours. In this connection it is worthwhile to mention that our Government should also see the writings on the wall, the agonies of the common people the widespread corruption,favouritism,the rising of prices of essential items of food,health care and other basic issues and urgently attend to them within a time frame.Jai Hind !

from:  librawalla
Posted on: Apr 5, 2012 at 06:19 IST

It is not a mere newspaper report. The report has been filed by an eminient media personality of standing & repute in Mr. Shekhar Gupta. It is wrong to dismiss the report without reading the contents of the article as published in Indian Express. The movement of the troops as mentined has not been denied. Now, it is the responsibility of the Army Headquarter to take action against their erring officers, if any, in having moved the troops without notifying Ministry of Defence (as mandated) which is a serius act of omission, if not commission; else, the suspicion will continue to linger on.

from:  vc sekar
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 22:30 IST

Its sad to see a section indian media stooping so low for mere
sensationalism and to score brownie points with their benevolent
political masters.IE should do responsible journalism an not indulge in
useless sensationalism

from:  chinmay
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 20:53 IST

these reports are only meant to give bad the image of our country and
army(army chief),we are not like other south asian countries,our army
is one of most disciplined in the world with impeccable record and
many sacrifices!

from:  santosh
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 20:06 IST

At this point of time Whole army as a unit does not seem to be ready to execute a coup which otherwise could have been a lifeline for the majority of our countries population who are crushed everyday by this defiant moneyspinning regime through their oppresive and antipoor policies.

from:  vikram rana
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 19:51 IST

The intended conclusions of Express report are rediculous to say the least.May be the parliementary committee after speaking to the defence ministry and Army officials will clear the air of confusion created by the report of Express.One thing is certain that there are rogue elements who would like to create misgivings about the COAS.These rogue elements should be identified.

from:  Anil Girotra
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 19:38 IST

The possibility of an Indian military coup makes some sense given the
chronic animosity between the current Army Chief and the ruling
political regime. How a militaristic Indian State deals with Kashmir
problem would be quite interesting!

from:  Dr. Sheikh Imran
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 19:32 IST

The reports of army units moving towards Capital Delhi in the month of January is alarming on the face of it. But the report coming to light after a gap of more than 2 months is the big QUESTIONMARK and some vested interests are behind the scene playing systematically,throwing some news of rift between Govt and Military forces.Our Media also should have some restraint and play key role in matters of National interest and security. The Govt also should act firmly and assert its iron hand in dealing with suchvested interests who are behind this drama of sensational news.

from:  A S Murthy
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 18:40 IST

The chances of coup in India are remote because the military leadership is totally crippled and the officers and men are divided into several groups. Religion, caste, creed, region, lingo,region, sect and so many other divisive factors prevalent in India are deep rooted in the army too. I have seen two senior officers from same place and collegetype did not participate in each others family functions because both being of different castes. Everybody is concened about his own career and rehabilitation and can play a spoilsport in the event of coup. Even if the coup succeeds, the Indian military as good as the civilian counterparts i.e. dishonest and corrupt right from the general officers to the lower rank and file. Professionalism is totally absent and huge strength is a result of unemployment. Most of the soldiers join the military being no better option.The training and discipline is poor and the entire force is crippled due to sycophancy and nepotism in promotions and appoinments.

from:  Yuvak
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 18:24 IST

It is true that history is packed with lots of example of military
coups but they have yielded before democratic aspirations as we have
recently seen in Arab world. It clearly shows that media has stormed
this issue out of its legitimate proportion to people. It gives a wrong signal to nation as well as world for a largest democracy which is only way of forwarding and cementing such a diverse and plural society. Media must think thousands times before publishing such baseless hypothetical situations in current context.

from:  Bhupendra Singh
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 18:19 IST

The Hindu came out with COAS General AK Singh interview wherein he
raised the issue of bribe attempt for favour deal however other
media house became envious and wanted to publish rocking news which
would shock the nation. I think this news of so called army coup is
an attempt to become number one newspaper. We cannot deny the future
attempt of coup but we have made balance of power and army know this
fact and there is no centralization of power hence coup is
impossible. When three forces ie Army, Navy & Airforce and
Paramilitary unite only then coup is possible. In present
circumstances such thing didnot happen and this news prima facie
seemed to be baseless but another attempt has been made by media to
malign the image of India in the World.

from:  Atul Warhekar
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:47 IST

it is baseless to say India might have coup attempt. If you publish this unproved information to the public. It will create bad feelings about India in International arena.

from:  j mercy
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:45 IST

sir, no such thing as military takeover can ever take place in india.
indian people and politicians are mature enough. ours is one of the
proudest democrasies in the world!

from:  a.shanmugam
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:44 IST

A military coup though should not take place in the world's largest democracy, but what else do you expect when the top army officer's
image(along with the army's image) is getting tarnished?? A young
boy/girl in our country when joining the defense forces,dreams of
serving the nation and protecting his/her motherland(and not for being
a part of a corrupt system as one of the friend raj kiran has highlighted above).I can say this, because I am myself is an aspirant
who wishes to be part of the I.A.F. Now, as all of us have seen the
reports of sub-standard equipment and weapons that the defense forces
get, think of the young boy who gets into the army and then gets
sub-standard weapon and is asked to sacrifice his life on the
border..wouldn't he feel cheated? So as far as the Govt.(specially
this one) doesn't change its attitude, no one can rule out the possibility of even a military coup(sadly).

from:  Yatin Chauhan
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:39 IST

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence should Base their questions
on facts Not based on false reports in Media

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence should waste their time...on
media reprts

from:  rajdeep
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:38 IST

this is a mockery the whole news.. some one wants to create some
worthless news....

from:  bonny
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:36 IST

Indian media is behaving like irresponsible hypocrite, making everything sensational including the matters of national security and other sensitive issues, also indulging in Trial By Media. It is termed as the fourth pillar of democracy i.e can function only in democratic environment. By sensationalizing the Civilian-military conflict it is not only undermining the other democratic pillars but also its own survival. If India is taken over my army, it may threaten the existence of the institution of democracy on the face of the entire globe. Because Indian democracy is the only countering force of Chinese dictatorship over the world in coming future. so let us preserve Indian Democracy at any cost. And media must behave in responsible manner.

from:  Sathish Gangam
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:32 IST

To Raj Kiran: Sir, it would be great if you read and find out more about what
defence forces do for everyone at a much smaller pay scale. There is no subsidised
ration--I can tell you from my own experience, not enough quarters, not even
basic facilities. Don't you know why there is severe shortage of officers? Would you
want to be posted in North east, Siachen or Kashmir? More army men are involved
in your daily train accidents, flood relief and state-policing than you are told or
even imagine. Sir, if there were lifelong benefits, people will not leave the forces at
such an alarming rate. This very newspaper has published many times the plight.
The procurement scams obviously are there--not without the prime ministers,
quattorochis and the babus.

from:  Lt nirmal
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:24 IST

Otherwise something wrong at some pleace such news will not occur.
Democracy we are, government must let the public to know the response from the general urgently.

from:  E I Abraham
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:22 IST

And we thought only Pakistan had coups ! The Army has been so
demoralized by the politics around the Army Chief.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 16:51 IST

I am not alarmed by the news coming from the reputed people in IE regarding possible coup. I think the authors of IE article jumped the gun too quickly resulting in confused situation all around us. As a matter of fact I am amused by the story line that has caught the imagination of all those paranoid and neurotic individuals. Probably, what is likely is that the troop movement and such activity went through uninformed to the higher authorities that was eventually interpreted as "pregnant coup" in making. In other wards lack of communication at various level. Plus, the present army general was also having his age issue and retirement debate with the government and the SC had not made it easy. Ever since the general has racked in this age/corruption issue, life for the people in responsible position is anything but normal. This shameless general should have been sent packing for the mess and chaos he created. In these age and time, coup in India is next to impossible. Calm down.

from:  Raman
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 16:48 IST

Its not impossible, may be latter not so soon, the current democracy will prove that, its no more worth to live peacefully.

from:  Varadhan
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 16:32 IST

Presidential Elections are in July 2012. A new Chief Justice has to be
chosen for the Supreme Court on 1 Oct 2012. Sonia Gandhi may have a
few months to live and may want to see Rahul as PM soon. With the
appointment of a compliant president and a compliant chief justice,
MMS will be asked to retire and Rahul Gandhi may take over as PM by
end of 2012.

In this backdrop, it is not surprising that there are rumors of a
military coup etc. Being ruled by a honest general like VK Singh is
preferable to being ruled by Rahul Gandhi.

from:  James Gurung
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 16:22 IST

There have been examples in the world where military regimes have done more good than harm. In India it will be better to have a militaristic dictatorship rather than living in an IMPOTENT democracy.....

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 16:01 IST

I can understand the fear of Army especially the Congress giving so much power to foreigner who has not given up the citizenship of a foreign country People would have been twice happy had that "thing" happened at lest temporarily till such time the stable is cleared

from:  ram
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 15:28 IST

PM is right in saying that the report in a newspaper today is alarmist and should not be taken at its face value. Wonder what is the whole purpose of running the story. One full page has been wasted for nothing. One is inclined to doubt the motive behind the story. Every pillar of democracy is going to pieces - from Legislature to Excutive and from Judiciary to the Press. The slide looks perilous and it is time action was taken to stop it. RC Rajamani

from:  RC Rajamani
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 15:08 IST

The government with almost the entire media on its side has been on cloud nine.If it received a jolt,imaginary though it might have been, in the night of Jan.16-17, it would turn out to be good for its future. Hubris would have otherwise done it in.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 15:05 IST

Few irresponsible media houses are bringing ill-repute to all of their
kind.It is the prime duty of the editor of that particular news agency
to verify before publishing such articles.This reminds me of the adage
"Half knowledge is dangerous".Media which sensationalize news rather than report them as it is should be censured.Martial law shall not stay even in the air above this land for a second's fraction,any such attempts shall lead to a brutal revolt from the people.Let democracy triumph!!!.

from:  Akshay Bhatt
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 14:48 IST

Abdullah's notion that all poiticians are corrupt and the millittary is
above corruption! All are humans ! That too Indians, after all!! The
parlimentary democracy, is the best system of governance inspite of all
its evils.

from:  Ajaathasathru
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 14:19 IST

Such rumors indicate the lack of leadership and the fear in the people of a rudderless nation. Manmohan Singh has failed to demonstrate his leadership. Between him and Sonia they have reached the level of incompetence.

from:  Nirmal Kumar
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 14:12 IST

The "Fishing in Troubled "waters do not augur well for any Serious
Media-especially at a time The Govt.and the Army Chief have their
differences brought out in the open DEMOCRATIC AND LEGAL forums. Letters conveing concerns to the Defence and Prime Minsters,Filing with the S.C and abiding by their directives,meeting in person for discussing issues troubling the Top Brass etc. It may be the Right to Get Information and NOT to Disclose the source of such information NEED to be defended BUT THE MEDIA HAS A RESPONSIBILITY AS WELL TO THE SECURITY OF THE NATION-BY NOT PUBLISHING THE VERBATIM CONTENT OF A LETTER THE COUNTRY'S CHIEF OF ARMY STAFF WROTE TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA.THE REPORTER/EDITOR could have informed the public that the Outgoing General DID submit a State of the Forces Report.

from:  Ajith Kumar
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 13:47 IST

Heights of incompetence and lethargy at top levels of government. Really
sad to see such an atmosphere of distrust and un-certainty between
political leadership and army. Hypothetically, if army planned a coup,
it will be the saddest day for world's largest democracy. No country has
ever progressed under military rule and thats a straightforward fact.

from:  sanjay
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 13:25 IST

I don't think Indian Army has the willingness and the co-ordination with other forces like Air force and Navy to carry out a coup. The main trouble is that the power hungry generals in defense forces will start fighting to see who will lead this Army, Navy or Air force. Although I respect the armed forces a lot for the work they do to protect us, But should also mention that they are petty minded people (sometimes with one track mind devoid of common sense) who fights over small symbolic honors. I believe that no one even in Army is doing any great sacrifice (as being made out by all, we have just won war against a weak Pakistan and have lost to any prepared enemy like China and even LTTE) by being part of any defense force. For many it is just a job for which they get paid and over and above subsidised ration and many other lifelong benefits.They are highly prune to corruption Even the hawaldar sells his liquor quota at a commission plus these billion dollar defense procurements)

from:  Raj Kiran
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 12:53 IST

What is wrong in the movement of the two units of Army. If they had any ulterior motive they could hve achieved it by orchastrating such moves from different commands. At best it was a routine exercise and at worst a presseure tactics. Why the PM and Raksha Mantri are on defensive. If the army takes over, it will not affect the ordinary people who are at the mercy of corrrupt politicians, boorish bureaucrats and media mughals. If it is a benevolent martial rule, I will welcome it. For me a peaceful and prosperous India is very important.

from:  V.K.Abdulla
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 12:41 IST

Let us not be pseudo patriotic- it may have happened and any knowledgeable person should not be astonished. Democracy needs to be made stronger with establishment of transparency by abolishing OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT under the backdrop of information explosion!

from:  Atis
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 12:20 IST
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