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Updated: April 4, 2012 16:40 IST

Armed Forces will not do anything to undermine democracy: Antony

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Defence Minister A.K. Antony urged the media not to lower the dignity of the Armed Forces on issues of national security. File photo
PTI Defence Minister A.K. Antony urged the media not to lower the dignity of the Armed Forces on issues of national security. File photo

Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Wednesday termed as “absolutely baseless” fears of any coup attempt by the Armed Forces and expressed confidence that they will not do anything to undermine democracy.

“Absolutely baseless. Army has already explained this. It is usual, natural activities. Nothing unusual. We are absolutely confident of the patriotism of the Armed Forces. Don’t question their patriotism. They will not do anything to undermine Indian democracy,” he told a press conference here.

He was replying to a question about a media report that there was an unusual movement of two key Army units towards Delhi without notifying government on the night of January 16-17, the day Army Chief Gen V.K. Singh moved the Supreme Court on the age issue.

The questioner told him that the report raised considerable alarm and fears of a coup and whether the government was afraid of such a possibility and what it had done.

Mr. Antony said the Armed Forces personnel were “true patriots” and “don’t question the patriotism of the soldiers who are dying in the frontiers of the country.”

“I am proud of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard,” he said.

He also urged the media not to lower the dignity of the Armed Forces on issues of national security.

"I have a humble request to make. Issues like these affecting national security, Indian armed forces, we cannot make the luxury of these controversies which damage the honour and dignity of armed forces," Mr. Antony said.

He said, "India is a democracy. India will continue to remain a democracy. Indian armed forces will do everything to strengthen our national interest and they will be part of our democratic government. Please do not expect anything like this to happen anywhere else".

Expressing complete faith in the armed forces, the Defence Minister said, "We have fullest faith in patriotism of the Indian armed forces and they will not do anything to weaken or undermine Indian democracy."

When asked when was the last time that such a movement took place, he said, "The army has already explained their position and I do not want to say beyond that. We endorse that."

Asked about the report which said the Defence Ministry was not informed of the army movement and that indicates a communication gap, he said, "There is no communication gap between the functioning of the armed forces and MoD."

He said, "Nothing is wrong in relation between the armed forces and MoD. I am very comfortable with the chiefs (three service chiefs). Sometime they think they need more and we are trying to give them more support. But it is not a fight."

The Defence Minister said, "The Prime Minister is the ultimate arbiter and he will take the ultimate decision. Cabinet will take decision and in between there are process. When the demands will come is it a confrontation, it is a healthy thing."

He said he is comfortable with all chiefs of armed forces specially with three service chiefs officially and personally also.

"No one should try to create a rift between all of us. It would not succeed. We will work together in the future also."

When asked whether DG, Military Operations, was summoned by the Defence Secretary, he said, "I am telling you the end result. There will be always discussion and occasionally they are meeting and discussing but ultimately I am telling that there is nothing like that.

"It is baseless. Between the ministry and the minister there is no communication gap. There is no trust deficit and I have full faith on them and we are working together," he said.

"As a Defence Minister I will demand more money for my ministry but is it a fight with the Finance Ministry?" Mr. Antony asked.

"Yesterday, we had the DAC (defence acquisition council) meeting. We decided to demand more money for the capital budget and revenue budget for this year and for the more years to come.

"We have finalised our annual plan proposals and the LTIPP (long term integrated perspective planning) for 2012 to 2027 and we are going to demand more money. We have to revisit the recommendation of the Financial Commission considering the security scenario around us. If we want to protect our national interest and security we must spend more on defence.

But is it a fight with the Finance Ministry and the government?" he asked.

Praising the Finance Ministry, Antony said, "Armed forces will request more for budgetary allocations... there was 18 per cent increase (budget allocation). I do not think Finance Ministry was unfair. But they have their limitation and we have our requirement."

Describing the security scenario around the country as "volatile", he said, "We want more because security scenario around us is volatile so we have to spend more money on our defence forces. Is it a confrontation?" he asked while maintaining that "there is no confrontation with the government."

On the BJP's demand for his resignation, he said, "They are an opposition party. Service chiefs writing letter to PM and Defence Ministry is not unusual. It happens many a time. It will happen in future also. It is their duty.

"But this time the letter was leaked. It is unfortunate and we are inquiring into that. We have entrusted the task to IB and let us get the report.

Asked about the report that IB has given a clean chit to the Army Chief, he said "I have no bias. I have not seen the report. We are a democratic country. So let us see everything".

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I agree with Ketan. It is really unsettling that we have reached a point
where such a possibility can be imagined by anyone. I have always
considered ours as nation of people who even though plagued by seemingly
insurmountable corruption and poverty, have always been patriotic and no
other institution inculcates that patriotism more than the armed forces.
The armed forces of India are a source of pride to the citizenry of this

from:  Ashutosh
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 21:16 IST

It is hilarious that some in media attempt to manipulate common citizenry about some spurious movement of army into thinking about a 'possible coup'!
This is not your run-of-the-mill banana republic. If any General even dreams of this, he will be hounded for rest of the life and thrown into jail. This is India. No one should make a mistake about thinking that Army rule will somehow get rid of corruption and other problems. We are in this situation because we got to know how prone armed forces are for corruption. Some unnamed soldier may die defending the country but we are talking about corruption in high command. So dont be poignant about Army in general. Having said that, if someone in army thought they can play mischief with democratically elected Govt, they must get exemplary punishment.

from:  Gautham
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 20:02 IST

As of current scenario it seems pretty good if the Army/Armed Forces take control throwing out the corrupt politicians.

from:  Hemchandra
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 19:50 IST

On the sheer measure of managing the explosive situation created by the conspiracy theory front-paged by a prominent English newspaper in India, credit must be given to the cool guy at the command of the India's Defense Ministry and be extension to Prime Minister and Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi. However, they should be charged with bringing the entire matter to head. Since 2G scam and corruption in Commonwealth game hit the headlines, UPA government is surviving with a series of scams and scandals. Though apparently TINA factor is helping it to survive, the alternative of BJP is too unpopular with the masses, that something is got to give. Let Sonia Congress, itself plan its own 'Kamraj' plan and try to win the confidence of the people, if India is not to be subjected to some inevitable spring cleaning exercises by unwanted quarters.

from:  Ghulam Muhammed
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 19:30 IST

The notion that the dictator will be honest is itself a wrong presumption. I do not know how the politics in the nation has come to such stand that media even have to talk about the coup.

from:  Ketan
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 17:00 IST

Anthony is mistaken, democracy is already undermined in our country, its dead, now we have to try something else, its just a matter of time before something drastically happens.

from:  xaviersurender
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 16:11 IST

There was a joint conspiracy hatched by the Defence bureaucracy and intelligence agencies to malign the indian army. Pro-active steps must be taken to bridge the huge trust deficit between the bureaucracy and the Army. Equilibrium must be restored
Mr Markandey Katju ,the Chairperson, Press Council of India,is expected to investigate how could a mainstream newspaper indulge in the luxury of sensationalism and create a false alarm in the country ? Was this ethical?

from:  A K SAXENA
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 15:47 IST

Do away with corrupt politicians, multiparty , quota and reservation
systems. People are loosing faith in Indian democracy. Indians are not
matured enough to enjoy the fruit of democracy. Before the country going
to dogs let there be in place some other system of governance. Any
system of governance which is free from corruption which do not
discriminate the people on the basis of caste,creed, language,sex and
domicile is welcome.

from:  Rationalist
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 15:44 IST

Now since it has come to this, I think it is wise to have something like this in our country because we are being ruled by goons instead of being served by mandated politicians. Imagine Raja Bhaiya being given a ministry, murderers with political backgrounds being let off by the judiciary and bureaucrats cheating people to make money. So the essence is that the three pillars of our democracy LEGISLATIVE, EXECUTIVE and JUDICIARY have all gone defunct. If that be the case we better be ruled by an honest dictator than the dishonest and disloyal pillars!!

from:  zubin
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 14:47 IST

It is far better a coup rather than keeping our corrupt democracy

from:  Pichi
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 14:21 IST

TV Media should take this matter seriously not as any other spice news,they are making story and just showing them as of no use

from:  HImanshu Pradhan
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 14:17 IST

really if a military general takes over the power it will make some good for the nation. it should happen. god its my true wish

from:  jaydev
Posted on: Apr 4, 2012 at 13:26 IST
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