Suhag’s appointment is final, says Jaitley

‘We must keep Army out of inter-party politics’

June 12, 2014 02:59 am | Updated November 16, 2021 07:05 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

The Centre on Wednesday asserted that the appointment of >Lt.Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag as the next Army Chief was “final.”

Even as the Opposition Congress demanded in both the Houses removal of the Union Minister of State for Development of Northeast Region and External Affairs, Gen. (retd) V.K. Singh, for his controversial tweets regarding Lt.Gen. Suhag’s appointment, Defence and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended both — the appointment and his cabinet colleague — in the Rajya Sabha.

He said the previous UPA government had appointed the next Army Chief some weeks ago and it had been a practice to keep some issues outside the realm of inter-party politics. “Not only the government but also all of us must keep the Army and its appointments out of this arena,” Mr. Jaitley said.

“The appointment [of Lt.Gen. Suhag] is final and the government fully stands by it,” he said adding, “As far as the comments made against the Minister is concerned, if a political party chooses to attack a Minister, he has the right to defend himself.”

He was responding to Congress leader Anand Sharma, who, while demanding the removal of Gen. Singh, said the Minister’s tweets against the Army Chief-designate was not a matter that could be glossed over. Gen. Singh had tweeted on Tuesday: “If unit kills innocents, does dacoity and then head of organisation tries to protect them, should he not be blamed? Criminals should go free!!”

The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha by Congress Deputy Leader Amarinder Singh, who, referring to Gen. Singh’s tweet, pointed out that a Union Minister was calling a Chief of Army Staff (designate) chosen by the Government of India a “criminal.”

Asked for his comment on the controversy outside Parliament, Gen. Singh said he had “nothing to say.”

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