ARMY CHIEF AND DEFENCE MINISTRY CLASH AGAIN
By Chitranjan Sawant
General Viajay Kumar Singh, the present Army Chief, will retire on 31 May 2012. After the General withdrew his petition from the Supreme Court, men in uniform and babus(as the IAS officers are known as in common parlance)knew very well that the soldier had once again lost the battle to the machinations of men in civilian clothes employed by the Govt of India but have been working at cross purposes with the uniformed service.
The War Within had been going on right from Day One when India gained independence but the Indian Army became subservient to bureaucracy.Let us take a few examples of the warring soldiers and wily babus within the four walls of the South Block where both the Army Chief and bigwigs of the Ministry of Defence are located. After independence the Army Chief was brought in the category of a Secretary to the govt whereas in the days of the British Raj he was number two, just a rung below the Viceroy of India.His perks,privileges,emoluments were drasticaly cut what to say of executive powers. Even the house of Commander-in-Chief, the present Teen Murti Bhawan was taken over by Jawaharlal Nehru and Chief was shifted to a much smaller house on King George's Avenue. Even his big office with a commanding view was taken over by the Defence Secretary, an officer junior to Chief in protocol, and the Chief shifted to a smaller office. The Raksha Mantri from Krishna Menon days had started treating the Chief as an errand boy and his recommendations were just ignored. Fed up of this kind of humiliation, Genera KS Thimayya had resigned but Hehru coaxed him to stay on without any tangible relief to address his grievances.
I shall quote the case of General SK Sinha, the then Vice-Chief who was passed over because he was upright and cut the babus to size through his erudition and articulation.
Now in the year 2012 unfolds another story of sleaze and attempted bribe as disclosed by General Vijay Kumar Singh, the present Army Chief. The General had broyught it to the notice of the Raksha Mantri, AK Antony who like always prefers to keep mum. On one side is the most corrupt govt of independent India of which he is a member and on the other side is the Truth as laid bare by the Army Chief. Chief did the right thing in rejecting the sub-standard vehicles being sold to the Army. Yet he is being castigated by the Congress spokesman. The Congress party's govt was involved when Krishna Menon, the then Indian High Commissioner had bought defective jeeps for the Indian Army. There are numerous examples where politicians made money under the table and jeopardised security of Bharat that is India. General VK Singh should be applauded for doing his duty in not succumbing to the money bags who are out to tarnish the image of the Army.
Well, the Army too has its share of black sheep. But they are being weeded out from time to time. Raksha Mantri must break his silence and acknowledge that the Army Chief had brought the case of attempted bribe to his notice. If he fails once again, the trust deficit will be rocketing sky high and it will cost our motherland dearly.
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