Daya Varma


About a year ago, India’s former Army Chief, General V.K. Singh contested the timing of his retirement on the ground of disparity in his recorded age in service documents and his High School certificate.  He knew about this discrepancy all the time but chose to raise the issue on the verge of retirement. Future developments show that the timing was chosen by the General so he could join BJP with applause; this, indeed, he got when he shared the dais with Narendra Modi at a public meeting in Haryana.


But this is not all that the General has been doing as the Chief of India’s armed forces.


General Singh has admitted that he had set up a secret cell, which funded NGOs. This secret cell had paid Rupees 1.19 crore (11.9 million Rs, approximately four million US$) to Jammu and Kashmir Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir. According to Indian newspapers, the purpose of this funding was to topple the elected government of Omar Abdullah. The General claims the monies were distributed to undermine Kashmir nationalists.


Whatever be the explanation of General V.K. Singh, it amounts to a mini-coup. It is the responsibility of the Government of India to prosecute the General for betraying the mandate of the army.


Perhaps there should be some provision that army officials above a certain rank should not be permitted to enter political parties; in the absence of any such provision they are likely to take steps that suits their post-retirement life and compromises the task of the army, which must remain under the civilian government leadership.  India took certain steps during Nehru’s time to safeguard against army coup and is among a handful countries where no military coup occurred following the end of colonialism. The danger still remains and General V.K. Singh’s action is a proof of that.

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