‘Look through windscreen and not rear view mirror when you take Army forward'

A day after taking over the reins of the Indian Army from General V. K. Singh whose 26-month tenure saw a slew of unseemly controversies, the new Army Chief, General Bikram Singh, on Friday made it clear that nothing would be brushed under the carpet.

While talking to reporters after inspecting a guard of honour on the lawns of South Block which houses the offices of Defence Ministry, General Singh was asked about Defence Minister A. K. Antony’s advice to forget the turbulence of the recent past.

"My outlook is to leave the past behind. Look through the windscreen and not through the rear view mirror when you take the Army forward. The vehicle is driven by looking through the windscreen and not through the rear view mirror," the new Army Chief said.

Replying to questions over allegations and instances of indiscipline that are being faced in certain sections in the Army as he took over as Army Chief, he asserted that the Indian Army would continue to carry out its tasks and fulfil its constitutional obligations. "I will make sure that it remains one of the most accountable, most responsive, most disciplined and most worthy element of national power," he said.

Asked about the strain in civil-military relations in the recent past, General Singh said that he would have a look at the problems and find a way ahead. "We will put our best foot forward. We will continue to remain a secular force and we will continue to remain an apolitical force and let us continue to do our job as it is supposed to be done," General Singh, only the second Sikh to take over as the Indian Army Chief, said.

His appointment had to face legal challenge in the form of a public interest litigation (PIL) that was turned down by the Supreme Court. The petitioners have now sought a review of the Supreme Court's decision.

Before taking over as the Army Chief, General Singh was Kolkata-based Eastern Army commander under whose jurisdiction the Dimapur-based 3 Corps functioned. The 3 Corps Commander, Lt-General Dalbir Singh Suhag, was issued a show cause notice by the outgoing Army Chief General V. K. Singh in the last week of May for a botched up intelligence operation.

"All these cases will be dealt with as per the rule book," General Bikram Singh said when he was asked about such controversies.

"Nothing will be brushed under the carpet, let me assure you this. This will be investigated and let me assure you we will take it to its logical conclusion," the Army Chief asserted.

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