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The Army chief causes huge tension to the Government, but what about the real issues ?




Ever since reports came out that the Army chief would challenge the Government with regard to his date of birth row, there was some amount of consternation in the Government and the Congress party. Even though the courts finally advised the chief to let go of his claim (they did not say that he was wrong though technically), there was some initial problems for the Government; further, the defense minister was criticized for letting the situation reach this point. And ever since then, the chief has been causing some pin-pricks for the Government, with 2 issues having been raised so far, one being the bribe being offered for a truck used widely by the army, and the other being the controversy caused by the release of a letter to the PM which claims that defense preparedness is at an absolute low.
There are 2 main problems that come out in this discussion that are not really being addressed. Worldwide, army chiefs are treated with respect, along with the stated position that the military chiefs report into the civilian leadership; in this particular case, the tension that the army chief is giving to the government is causing many politicians (including ruling party politicians) to call for the sacking of the army chief like he is a lowly servant who had the audacity to make remarks against the master. And the Government, which is so sensitive of politicians being called corrupt or criminals, has no problems with such remarks being made against the army chief and it is only a day that the defense minister states that the army chief has his full support. One should not really take actions that look unfair to a large section of the armed forces, the consequences of breeding resentment are not really worth contemplating.

The other main issue is about the contents of the letter that the Army Chief wrote to the Prime Minister which stated that the army is in real need of many weapon systems upgrades, that tanks are out of ammunition and so on. In addition to trying to identify people who are capable of leaking such sensitive information, there should be a real debate on this issue. It is easy to say that this is sensitive information and should be pushed under the carpet, but the writing of such a letter was very significant indeed. This was not a latter from some major moaning that he is under-supplied, this was a letter from the army chief of the one of the largest armies in the world to the Prime Minister of a nation that has many enemies on its fronts, and if this situation is true, then the people responsible for this are actually guilty of treason. And if the defense minister, through inaction or whatever has let the defense ministry reach such a point, then Mr. Antony is as guilty as Krishna Menon was at the time of the 1962 disastrous war with China and should be sacked.
We also had the strange scene where a MP, also a member of the defense committee in Parliament, wanted the army chief to be sacked and claimed that the situation was perfectly fine with the armed forces. If he was right, and the army is perfectly fine, then the army chief should be sacked without any delay; but if he is wrong, then it also means that our MP’s have no sense of responsibility and are not doing the jobs that they have been elected to do.




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