The article “Ceasefire after the crossfire” by Natwar Singh (April 3) gives a balanced view of the government-army bickering. He has rightly pointed out that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Defence Minister A.K. Antony should have dealt with the issue more firmly and enforced discipline. His pragmatic solutions are worth considering.

Y.S. Kadakshamani, Madurai

As Mr. Singh has rightly pointed out, Mr. Antony, a politician with a clean record, failed to stop Army Chief General V.K. Singh from washing dirty linen in public. The outcome is that the Indian Army has presented a sorry picture of itself to the world. The Army is, after all, a force that demands strict discipline and submission to superiority and seniority. Mr. Antony's inability to rise to the occasion in dealing with the age issue and the leakage of the supposed confidential letter has let India down.

Salini Johnson, Thiruvananthapuram

The article has rightly observed that the age of the General is not a national issue but the security of the nation is. The authorities seem to have lost sight of the procedures and the Lakshman Rekha. Damage control is the urgent need of the hour since the bickering between the military and the government is likely to have an adverse impact on the morale of the defence forces.

Jayaram Iyer Sankaran, Chennai

Mr. Singh has rightly said that “Saint Antony,” whom he describes as “a good and honest man,” is in the wrong job. One can only hope that the Prime Minister will consider the three options Mr. Singh has suggested in the concluding part of his article to clean up the unholy mess.

Achal Narayanan, Chennai

I appreciate the handling of the issue by the Prime Minister, the Defence Minister, and the Army Chief. Bringing forth the issue of defence deals is not like crossing the Yalu River. Straight talk does not endanger institutions. On the other hand, such issues should be discussed in every regimental mess. We don't want the Indian Army to be like the armies of Mali, Myanmar or the Maldives.

Kamal Kishor Pandey, Delhi

The sentences “Gen. Singh and Mr. Antony are both perceived to be incorruptible. Together they had an opportunity to cleanse the Army. History will record that this was a wasted opportunity,” say it all (“Sack the general, did you say?” April 2). There is an adage that good people come together to do good things and they normally fail; bad people come together to do bad things and normally succeed. Here, the most unfortunate thing is good people did not even come together to do good things. The Raksha Mantri and the Army Chief, individually honest people, could have done great things together instead of washing dirty linen in the public. They have made a great Army look like a scarecrow!

K.R.A. Narasiah, Chennai

Had Gen. Singh filed a police complaint against the lobbyist who offered him a Rs.14-crore bribe, as many have suggested, what purpose would it have served? It would have led to a denial and a counter complaint by the accused, nothing more. His act of reporting the matter to Mr. Antony was, therefore, in order. The Minister is his superior and had a vastly greater authority and resources to order far-reaching, high-level investigations. It was the Minister who failed to act and thus, although a man of spotless integrity, lost the opportunity to banish the ghost of corruption from the army.

A.N. Lakshmanan, Coimbatore

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