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Updated: April 7, 2012 01:45 IST

Army Chief says no notification needed, no clarification sought

Prashant Jha
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General V.K.Singh
General V.K.Singh

General V.K. Singh calls reports on 'unauthorised' troop movement 'fables of sick mind'

In his first major interview since the controversy over the alleged unauthorised movement of two Army units in January broke out, Army Chief General V. K. Singh told The Hindu on Friday that these were “routine exercises” for which there was no requirement to “notify” the government. He also categorically rejected any link between the troop exercises and his petition on the date of birth issue in the Supreme Court, calling it “fables of a sick mind.”

General Singh spoke to The Hindu at Nepal Army's 11th Brigade base, right before his return to Delhi after a two-day visit.

The Army Chief termed the report on the troop movement, which appeared in The Indian Express on Wednesday, “absurd and deplorable.” Asked who could be behind it, he said, “There are so many theories doing the rounds. There was a newspaper story which said it was being done at the behest of a central minister. Sections of the bureaucracy can be feeding wrong inputs. They have made a mountain out of a molehill … God knows who all may be involved, nor do I want to waste time thinking about it.”

Referring to an interview he had given to The Week in March, he said, “I had mentioned it last month itself that, you know, tomorrow there will be exercises — and a big story will be made out of it.” So did he have an inkling of the story that eventually appeared? “It is like this. When there is general suspicion, you can do anything. Funny ideas can be planted.”

On the facts of the report itself, General Singh said these were “routine exercises.” Asked if the Army had notified the government, he replied, “Notify for what? What was happening? We keep doing this so many times.”

Responding to a question whether the civilian authority on the night of January 16 — the date of the reported movement — had asked him for a clarification, General Singh said, “It was not like that. No clarification was asked for. These were routine issues. I don't think one or two units should ever bother anyone. It was not as if the whole of the armoured division was marching towards Delhi. This is just a figment of imagination.”

General Singh rejected any link between the timing of the troop exercises, and his petition regarding his date of birth in the Supreme Court. “How is there any connection?” When pointed out that there were suggestions that the movement was meant to ‘scare' the government or exert pressure, he responded, “You have gone to the Supreme Court. What is there to scare the government for? These are fables of a sick mind. Anyone who makes a connection needs to see a psychiatrist. I had followed the laid down norms of a democratic constitution and gone to the SC. Where is the doubt left?”

Asserting that civil-military relations in India were good, the Army Chief said, “There is nothing wrong. I am on the same page as the government. We enjoy good relations, and I have no differences with the Raksha Mantri.” He accused “rogue elements of the bureaucracy” of wanting to “blow things up.”

General Singh said that anyone who joins the Army takes a “pledge to uphold the Constitution of India.” “No other service does it. You will not find anyone else more committed to the country, to the Constitution, and to democracy … The Army is the upholder of the country's values.” Those who think differently about the Army ‘need their heads examined' and are the ‘biggest anti-nationals,' he added.

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Great job - The Hindu has finally got us the facts! I wonder what were the motives behind the coup story.

from:  Joby
Posted on: Apr 8, 2012 at 05:57 IST

Indian Express and Mr. Shekhar Gupta have been and are doing good service to the nation. Secondly, one should pause before denigrading Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the bureaucrats. While critiising the MOD, many commentators conveniently forget that the framers of the Indian Constitution deliberately struck a delicate balance between the MOD and the Armed Forces, which is why India does not face situations such as available in our neighbourhood.

Last but not the least, will our Prime Minister open his mouth and state categorially in the Parliament that the movement of the troops of both instances referred to in the Indian Express did not warrant prior notification ?

from:  vc sekar
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 23:09 IST

Well done.... Honourable Defence Mr.A.K Antony , managed all fictitious effectively under the crisis situation. You are one of Noble minister that i ever seen. But around you bureaucracy and army offical playing game for their selfishness and personal motive.Every humen being became psychic whenever they are going to loss the power like our Army Cheif did and Honourable Superme Court denied his states.If he is a noble and courageous he should come infront timely.After so many months he put forward all these thing to media. In my view this totally immature way and childish approach from the army cheif.India bought record army equipment in the past years majority of people doesn't know these things.

from:  binupulickal
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 21:23 IST

This interview by the Chief is a slap in the face of Indian Express and their ilk! The editor and staff of this paper should give a written apology to the Army and publish this apology letter in all newspapers,if at all they are left with some ethics&professionalism. The Govt should go to the depth of this conspiracy and take the guilty to task! The Indian Army is truly blessed to have a Chief like Gen V K Singh.He is like Maggi noodle,he is different!!! The Chief chose to give this interview only to The Hindu speaks volumes about the credibility of this paper. Hindu is the lone lotus flower in the media mud and muck! Fly Hindu, fly higher!

from:  g sridharan
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 19:06 IST

This present government will drive anyone to drink! Scam after scam after scam and
all the scamsters released after close friends of the scamsters (also crooks) are
HIRED as members of an Expert Committee to " Look into the Matter." as we
common folk have no guns and God will take his own time the meanwhile...I
understand NOW why some people take to drink. I'll bribe the Army General one
wonderful home made bottle of peach liqueur from my own peach tree on condition
wonderful speech at the Oasscam meeting PROVED his intelligence and vision for the
country so PERFECT. It left us with tears in our eyes to think that such an
extraordinary individual should have to take orders from such dishonorable,
unethical, lying individuals, who do not even have the decency to bring in the Lokpal
bill which was promised to the whole country by them through all media channels
and gave us all a glimmer of hope!

from:  angela alvares
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 13:36 IST

I am proud of our Army Chief. The General has set the record straight. It is in the interest of the country that the people, who are behind the string of false stories brought out to malign the Army and its Chief, be punished. Let the court of law decide whether they are culpable of treason or need psychiatric treatment.

from:  K Prakash
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 13:31 IST

There seem to be consensus and more respect for Army taking over country to
clean up this "Democratic mess" created by the political system. If there is national
referendum, at least more than 75% people might opt for General VK Singh taking
over country for limited period of time to clean up and handover to the real
democratic forces. It is sad, but true. If General appeals to Indian people, in the
interest of nation and upholding constitutions, there is need for surgical approach
of this cancer of corruption, nepotism, cronyism, family installed regimes, conflicts
our loot, utter disregard for people and constitution and comes out with credible
plan, whole nation will rally. In the name of Democracy, people of India are
witnessing one of the worst rule of law, perverted politicians ruling the country.
General should ask eminent people to come out with white paper for limited army
intervention to clean the system and return to democratic system within a year. Do
it General!

from:  GB Rao
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 12:44 IST

well done gen. vk singh. we are proud of you.the babus in the MOD need to be publically shamed for not equipping the proud ARMYof this great country.for them self is bigger than the long wiil these technically unsound babus decide the fighting capabilties of the armed forces.the govt must act and meet all the needs of the army.their honour must be restored.

from:  inderjit singh
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 12:29 IST

great general!!!
You have shown the rotten politicians and bureaucrats where you belong.
we are proud to have such a a great man as our general

from:  retheesh
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 12:22 IST

The bureaucracy of this country are answerable to no one . The are the
educated face and "Shakuni mama's "of the Indian politicians . They
scheme and plot and these illiterate moron politicians who are like
head less chicken go about bidding these crooks . These IAS are
supposed to know the law and constitution and they take advantage of
this and twist the politicians around their finger and make them look
a bloody fools , which they willingly become .
The IAS lobby wants to boss over every one and when they found this
chief the could not digest it as it was hitting them hard where it
mattered , the corruption of the politicians use them and the collude
to rob the country .
There have been so many leaks from PMO in past , these crooks leak out selectively to serve their purpose and blackmail people who are thorn
in their missdeeds .
We should revamp the entire system of governance.

from:  Suresh Thakur
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 12:13 IST

Army Chief is right! Indian express was paid up by the bureaucrats to demoralize army. They have to be taken to task by the Government. Why
the government is silent? Is the government part of the conspiracy?

from:  Prathap Singh M
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 11:55 IST

Chief we are with you. Shame on the bureaucrats indulging in these types of cheap gimmick. Nobody benefits, the nation suffers.

from:  amit
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 11:50 IST

We often advise friends and daer ones not wash dirty linen in public. Two important & powerful constituents of the country- Army & bureaucracy, are using all their influence to put the other to shame and in the process running down the good name of India. Media is being used to call shots at each other. Ordinary Indian is sad and disgusted over the affairs of the Govt. Can't the PM devote his time on this issue, keeping his all aides, most of them appeared to be prejudiced, talk straight to beleagured Army Chief and senior bureaucrats in MOD along with intelligence people to stop all this nonsense. There is limit to inaction and unresponsiveness on the part of the Govt. Journalists cant report anything unless soneone brief them with papers. Please save the institution of army, otherwise3 we are in huge trouble. Wake up PM.

from:  Kulbhushan
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 10:32 IST

In such turbulent times its cloudy to determine that who is morally
intact and who is not. But if we rely on logic only than it's quite
clear that if General had any notorious plans than he would certainly
not had reached to the SC. None is that lame to blow the horn so loud
before any extreme step.

He can be help responsible for anything but endangering any military
takeover. The power the military exercise is enough to over turn the
governments any time of the day but the motto of military is to hold
the constitution above all and not to blitzed the very own country.

from:  Amber Rastogi
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 10:23 IST

Well said sir. Never before have we had an Army Chief as outspoken as you are and that probably has been a cause of unease to many in the armed forces, bureaucracy, arms manufacturing companies who prefer a pliant Chief. Most likely it's an attempt to malign him and the institution he heads. I would rather believe what the Chief is saying than what interpretation of his statement and action is being given in the print or broadcast media.

from:  Mukul Kanti Dutta
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 10:21 IST

Whatever is made known so farto the general public is in bits and pieces from which one cannot get a clear picture. For many unanswered questions, we may probably get the right answers after 31/05/2012.At least, we may expect the General to elaborate on his seemingly prophetic statement in the interview to The Week last month that, on a routine army exercise - which requires no permission or prior information - a 'big story' would be made out or 'funny ideas could be planted' due to 'general suspicion'. The nation wants to know who suspected whom, for how long, and for what purposes? Surely the General must be in possession of authentic information about the persons behind this sensational and nation jolting 'story' of the midnight happenings of Jan 16 and does not want to reveal them for the sake of propriety. Let us wait for the day when the entire truth comes out! Surely, it will, because of a vigilant and powerful media.

from:  Shekar
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 10:11 IST

Army takes a “pledge to uphold the Constitution of India.” “No other service does it. You will not find anyone else more committed to the country, to the Constitution, and to democracy … The Army is the upholder of the country's values.” We are proud of our Army.
Media always report with motives rather than values.It is the high time for the media to introspect.
Sekar Govindasamy

from:  Sekar Govindasamy
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 10:04 IST

Yes, some sick minds have to get their heads examined. For nothing
they create controversies and enjoy. It has become the pastime of
people to indulge in rumor mongering and enjoy cheap entertainment.
When this is done by National media, resulting in wastage of
enormous time of PM, Defense Minister, Army chief and others, one
gets the feeling that we as a Nation will never do anything
productive. Opposition leaders like Advaniji should show restraint
instead of joining in the fun and wastage of National manpower. We
expect better behaviour and better sense from media, political
leadership and Government officials.

from:  Sridharan
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 09:20 IST

At this rate our corrupt politicians will like to disband the army.
It is only beause of the corruption in procurement that the politicians are tolerating the army. The bureaucracy tries it's best to put down the army.I have heard a Joint Secretary making fun of the VCOAS in a party. Our politicians take an oath and forget about it the next day. All bureaucrats and would be MPs should do a tenure of 3
months in the Army. This is the next best thing to conscription.What is happening now is a repeat of what happened centuries ago when the Mughals descended on us followed by the British. Our GREEDY politicians are just trying to repeat history.

from:  S N IYER
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 08:08 IST

The sum and substance of the Indian Express report was that when intelligence agencies reported the troop movements in the night on Jan.16 to the government, the latter seemed to have got worried as indicated by reasons mentioned in the report. Since the Manmohan Singh government has been for some time now showing signs of being helpless in many areas of governance, the IE report made people sit up and take note. What is really worrying them is the confidence-deficit within their government.

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 08:06 IST

Some people are so dumb that they do no know what they are talking about. The General is right that they are antinationals but he is wrong that they need psychiatric treatment. They are not mad but doing it with purpose. Large number of journalists carry some one's brief and are usually paid for it in cash or kind. Recently a journalist told me that in his child's birthday he spent 1.5 Lakh and made out 5 Lakh by way of gifts. A chief minister had also graced the occasion

from:  S. Vatsya
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 08:00 IST

After retirement of Army Chief, we expect a huge dis-closer from any of
the sub-staff those who are working under him now.

from:  Divya B Kammath
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 07:53 IST

The only questions here are as follows.

So were there nakaabandhi's on the night of Jan 16th-17th leading into Delhi? If so, why were they put up?

That alone would explain how the civilian leadership monitors army movements.

from:  Avinash
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 07:43 IST

"Pledge to uphold the Constitution of India.” to the Constitution, and to democracy … The Army is the upholder of the country's values.”

Now that so many fora and civil organisations including Anna Hazare made us understand that the democracy is hijacked by the loopholes provided in the constitution and the very law makers are misusing it to their advantage. The corruption charges the Army chief himself put forward highlights the problems. Therefore, upholding the country's values & democracy and upholding the current constitution are mutually conflicting in present times. People are confused on which one is of primacy. If values are of primary then establishing open democracy is the duty of every citizen including Army.They cant shed their responsibility on that. After all, Indian Army Mutiny somewhat strengthened Indian Freedom Movement

from:  Raj Natarajan
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 07:40 IST

I for one totally agree with the Chief. With more than five hundred minor & major army units in and around the capital region, there are moves undertaken for training every day of the year. If the army resorts to seeking permission for every move, then that is all that it will be doing and no training.
The bureaucracy is indeed behind the fabrication. There is no doubts about it. The reactions of Brijesh Mishra, where he termed the present Chief as the 'Worst Chief' is a pointer. The bureaucracy is the Bane of India. Raghav Bahl in his book 'Superpower' classifies our bureaucrats as brilliant, but never having the gumption for a decision, and with the majority trying to eke out a carrier through scheming and conniving. Misrepresentation and using the system to stall and prevent progress. The military acquisition process is in Doldrums, curtsey our glorious babus in the MoD. Our Babus are a parasite on the system. It is time that India develops a vaccine against our bureaucrats.

from:  Pankaj Bhagwati
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 07:10 IST

Well done Gen V.K. Singh! You should be the Leader of India to clean up the corrupt politicians who failed to work in the best interest of the nation!

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 04:43 IST

it is sad day in indian history where civilian govt and their bureacracy totally brought discredit to glorious tradition of indian starting from general kariaapa, maneckshaw to vk singh,,some one whatsoever should be held responsible and be hanged, it is not minor whole army fight on moral,honour and crediblity,it cannot win war on filmy leadership,,

from:  bhupinder
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 04:36 IST

General V.K Singh clarification should dispel all doubts , those who planted the falsifications have done so with an ulterior motive and should be exposed for tarnishing the name of the Army.

from:  Sanjeev
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 04:12 IST

Looks like there are some rogue elements in the bureacracy who are been backed by the Arms dealers to throw dirt on the Army Chief and intentionally create a wedge between the Army and the Govt for their selfish gains.They see the General as a thorn in their flesh as he is cleaning up the corruption in the Arms procurement processes for the Indian Army.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 03:25 IST

This colourful military leader is bold, brave and honest. But the corrupt Indian Congress leaders were shaken when the army moved although it was a routine exercise as they were guilty.

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 01:08 IST

Thank you General Singh. We are very proud of you.

from:  Rahul
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 00:57 IST

Clear and forthright rejoinders....I think he has nothing to hide.
A judicial probe should be done to find the motives (if there was
one) behind the news of Indian Express... if my memory is correct
Indian Express was behind V.P Singh's projection as Prime
Ministerial candidate in media.

from:  Venkat Raja
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 00:15 IST

His interview made everything very clear. The newspaper may be within
the journalistic ethics in putting up such a story. But to insinuate
army which is an institution of national pride, the newspaper should
have premised its story on a more stronger evidence than a mere trivial
coincidence.s a lover of Indian democracy I salute our army and the chief of our army.

from:  Swami Nathan
Posted on: Apr 7, 2012 at 00:05 IST
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