A day ahead of his retirement, Chief of Army Staff General V K Singh stated that he would like to be remembered as a soldier, as “somebody who has tried to uphold what the army stands for.”
Gen. Singh was addressing the media after he reviewed the Passing out Parade at his alma mater, the National Defence Academy in Pune on Wednesday.
"No differences with MoD"
He sought to clear the air on the speculations of a rift between the armed forces and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). “There are no differences between the forces and the MoD. We are one. The Raksha Mantri (Mr AK Anthony) is clear headed in his support to the forces,” he stated.
Gen. Singh, who has been in the eye of the storm in the last few months, stated that he had gone through his career abiding by Mahatma Gandhi’s principle of ‘anybody who does injustice is wrong, and anybody who accepts injustice is wrong.’
Speaking of the controversies he found himself facing, he said, “Certain controversies were created... Certain controversies erupted. Certain controversies can be ascribed to my dear media friends who have great imagination to see a ghost behind every bush.”
Stating that he remained unaffected throughout, he said “I would say it has not concerned me at all. Somebody told me a lot of people throw insults at you. You actually deserve those insults is you react to them. If you are not concerned with those insults, don’t react to them.”
Gen Singh refused to comment on Lt Gen. Tejinder Singh’s complaint against him to Mr Anthony. “Those of us who know him well enough know what kind of things he tries, what he has been trying and what he has been doing. This is not a forum to castigate him. He is most welcome to slide into any depths that he wants to.” Gen Singh had alleged that Lt Gen Tejinder Singh had offered him a bribe of Rs. 14 crore for clearing a “substandard” truck deal.
Gen. Singh also refused to comment on the confidential letter to the Prime Minister on the ill preparedness of the army that was leaked to the media. “All three forces are ready for any kind of challenge,” he said. However, he stated that the Indian army needed to be more relevant and ready “to get out of the old mould and move out. There is a need to modernise and create a network-centric joint service environment,” he said.
Refusing to divulge his post retirement plans, he said that he would start thinking about it once he actually handed over his uniform on May 31. On Team Anna’s invitation to join the anti corruption movement, he said, “I will think and analyse these offers after June 1.”
“It is every citizen’s duty to raise one’s voice against corruption” he stated. As of now, his priority will be to finish his PhD on Afghanistan, he stated.
Earlier addressing the 361 cadets who passed out of the NDA today, Gen Singh urged the young officers to ‘have the right kind of moral and ethical values’. “In no case, self will get precedence over the organization; never shall personal gains, override official and professional needs,” he stated. He stated that it was an honour to be back at the institute to "take salute" where he began his career 46 years back.
Quoting his favourite lines from Rudyard Kipling’s ‘If’: “If you can dream - and not make dreams your master; If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim; If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch, if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you, If all men count with you, but none too much;Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!”