Former Army Chief Gen V.K.Singh has shown disinterest in joining politics as he feels that the present system is such that good people may not enter it.
“I have a small mission - Reclaim India. I want to raise awareness among the people. Moreover, the present political system is such that good people may not enter politics. That does not mean, all those who are in politics are bad,” Mr. Singh told Rajat Sharma in India TV’s ‘Aap Ki Adalat’ programme.
“This country has given me the best for the last 42 years and I want to give something back to my country,” he added.
The retired general said there should be three requisites for a good politician —— good image with no criminal case pending, capability and the motivation to serve the nation and society.
Asked why he had attended a rally with INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, who is in jail on corruption charges, he said he did it to celebrate the birth anniversary of Chautala’s father Chaudhary Devi Lal.
“Devi Lal ji is the main figure who introduced Old Age Pension in Haryana years before other states started the scheme. He also waived tax on poor people’s bicycles. If Chautala was there because of his father, I can’t push him out,” Mr. Singh said.
He also said that he had no ambition to become a governor or ambassador.
“Had I wanted to become a governor or an ambassador, I could have stayed silent on the Tatra truck scam. Rs 26 lakh worth trucks were being sold to the Army for Rs 1 crore. Most of the bureaucrats, approaching retirement, agree to whatever they are asked to. I am not that sort of man,” Mr. Singh said.
He also said that he belongs to those group of men who are ready to stand up and fight injustice.
“There are two types of people —— one who sit on bended knees and takes alms, and the other who stand straight with head held high, ready to fight injustice. I belong to the other group,” he said.
Asked about the report of a coup he had allegedly planned against the government in January last year, Mr. Singh said, “Today I can reveal that some bureaucrats and some army officers had planted this baseless news. These two units were part of routine mobilisation, and if you remember, there were some developments in Maldives six- seven days later. These units were meant to go there.”
The retired general also added that Indian Army, “will never carry out a coup, it will only defend the nation“.
In reply to a question over the controversial Technical Support Division (TSD) raised by the Army, he said it was set up in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack to keep watch on developments across the border.
“Like RAW, which never does research, TSD is neither technical, nor does it provide support, nor does it have snooping equipment. It was set up on operational directives of the Raksha Mantri to enhance Army’s capability. The process of setting up the TSD began before my tenure,” Mr. Singh said.
Asked whether the TSD was used for snooping on ministers and bureaucrats, he replied, “I don’t need to snoop on ministers and bureaucrats. I don’t give bribes, nor receive bribes.”
On the issue of an Army Major entering his residence, Mr. Singh said the officer came in his absence and entered his studies.
“First of all, he (the officer) came suddenly to my residence in the absence of myself and my family members. He asked my exchange staff to go away. He went to different rooms and even opened my computer in the study. It was then that my daughter came in suddenly. Then what will you do?” Mr. Singh said.
Lashing out at Pervez Musharraf, he said the former Pakistan president has been spreading lies about the Kargil conflict.
“He (Musharraf) has this habit of lying. First he said his Army was not involved in Kargil. Now it has been revealed, he had come 11 kms deep inside the Line of Control and spent the night. It means he has been telling lies all along,” he said.
On Musharraf’s claim that Kashmir could have been with Pakistan had then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif not gone to meet US President Bill Clinton during Kargil conflict, Mr.Singh said, “I can only say this much that while living presently in a nice house in England, he should stop daydreaming.”
The former Army chief also suggested that India should adopt a no-nonsense policy towards Pakistan.
“Pakistan never sincerely accepted our hand of friendship. We have to evolve a policy of how to deal with our neighbours. We should make Pakistan understand that if it does something wrong, we will hit back and if it behaves well, then we can be friends. Like a big brother, we need to give a tight slap, if it misbehaves,” Mr. Singh said.