There is no war on, but Gen. VK Singh is creating battles for him to fight. The age row was over when the Supreme Court did not support his stand. But the Army Chief maintains that the Date of Birth (DoB) issue was brought up by interested parties because he “cracked down on corruption”.
Now he is trying to hit back apparently without proper advice and consideration. The two major steps he has taken in this connection are (a) an interview with The Hindu and (b) letter to the PM on the 12th of this month narrating what he claims to be the pitiable condition of the Army and the Air Force.
In the interface with the newspaper Singh says an officer under him approached him with an offer of a bribe of Rs.14 crores if the Army keeps on buying sub-standard trucks that are imported by a public sector company. Whether public sector organizations can have middlemen in dealing with the Defence Forces is another matter.
Strangely, the Army Chief took no action against the subordinate officer concerned. One cannot be blamed for wondering whether he did not have the guts to do so. But he wanted someone else to handle that and therefore verbally informed the Defence Minister Mr. AK Antony. Well, Antony is nobody’s fool. He told the General to take action.
This was about one and a half years back. Gen. VK Singh neither gave a written report to the Minister nor took any action. He simply waited for the person he accused, Lt. Gen. Tejinder Singh, to retire. After losing the DoB case, and at the fag end of his career, he brings the ‘incident’ to public attention possibly in the hope of hitting back at the Government. It would be good if he realistically estimates the credibility he has with the public, politicians and the Government.
Now, let us look at the Army Chief’s letter to the PM which has been leaked out by someone. If he had sent that communication (in all propriety to the Defence Minister) two years back, one could have appreciated his eagerness to set things right in our Army and Air Force. But he has done that just two months before his retirement. Why did he wait all this time?
The questions that comes to one’s mind are whether Gen. VK Singh is at least partially responsible for the apparently dangerous situation the country is facing because of the ill equipped Army and what he did to set matters right. Some people might think that the communication to the PM is advance bail for the condition that the Army is in after two years under him.
The strategy and tactics adopted by Gen. VK Singh seem to have been wrong. Lt. Gen. (Retd) Tejinder Singh has reportedly filed a defamation suit against the present Chief. The CBI is all set to question him. He does not seem to have received any meaningful support from the politicians. Some say that he is frustrated. Others demand that he be sacked.
Has Gen. VK Singh considered the damage that all these cause the morale of the Armed Forces? Then, again, other countries must be laughing at us.
The citizens have the right to know the truth.