Seeking to move forward after the Supreme Court disposed of General V.K. Singh's plea against the government decision to fix his date of birth as May 10, 1950, Defence Minister A.K. Antony on Monday underscored that the Chief of the Army Staff enjoyed the government's confidence.
“The government has confidence in the present Chief, and that was conveyed in the Supreme Court also. Everything is clear, and we have confidence in him,” Mr. Antony said in reply to journalists' queries whether Gen. Singh offered to resign after the court refused to intervene in the matter.
The Minister's interaction with reporters came on the sidelines of the 14 Asian Security Conference, organised by the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses.
Mr. Antony said the controversy was “unfortunate” and he was happy that the matter was put to rest by the court ruling. “In the interests of national security, please forget and bury this unfortunate controversy…whatever has happened has happened and is over now... I request … to close this chapter and let us all work together to strengthen national security. For us, national interest is supreme.”
On February 10, the Supreme Court ruled that the Centre's decision would apply to his service matters. Later, the Army Chief withdrew his plea that he was born a year later.
Several newspapers and television channels have speculated on the continuance of Gen. Singh in office. Mr. Antony's remarks on Monday should help to scotch it.
Interestingly, the day when the court gave its ruling, Gen. Singh went on a field visit. He flagged off a vintage car rally in New Delhi on Sunday and left for the United Kingdom on an official visit on Monday.
Inaugurating the three-day conference on ‘Non-Traditional Security Threats: Today And Tomorrow,' Mr. Antony said the global community today faced common challenges in economics, geopolitics, demography, sharing of natural resources, climate change and information.
He said, “The impact of basic issues such as food, water, economic instability and security-related issues such as terrorism, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and drug trafficking is… [affecting] the dynamics of various societies and nations.”
As one of the fastest growing economies of the region, India remained committed to building a peaceful, secure and economically stable Asia, but it would have to move beyond the conventional ways of dealing with non-traditional challenges, he said.
He flagged cyber security as one of the critical areas of concern, given the enormous amount of vital data passing through the wide network across the world every day.
“Any breach of cyber networks can cause an untold damage to the security of any society or country. Nations must take serious and prompt note and cooperate with each other to strengthen seamless cyber security,” he said.
Keywords: Army Chief age issue