Army Chief General VK Singh today dismissed as “absolutely stupid” a report that the Indian government was alarmed after the Army moved two units towards Delhi in January without informing the government.
“Whosoever is trying to make stories against the Army Chief is deplorable. And what it shows is that people are unnecessarily trying to throw muck at both the government and the Army and such people should be taken to task,” General Singh said.
A report yesterday in the newspaper The Indian Express said the government was “spooked” on the night of January 16-17 because central intelligence agencies reported that a key military unit from the mechanised infantry based in Hisar had moved in the direction of the capital. On the same night, the paper reported, a sizeable section of the 50th Para Brigade based at Agra – had also been moved towards Delhi, which the paper claims caused some concern within the government.
The paper says the movement of the units took place as Army Chief General V K Singh took the government to court, demanding that it accept his claim that he was born a year earlier than his records reflect. He later withdrew his petition. The dispute between the government and the chief over his age greatly frayed his relationship with the defence ministry.
The Prime Minister had yesterday described the report “alarmist” and had said it “should not be taken at face value.”
Defence Minister AK Antony said the report is “absolutely baseless.” He added, “We are absolutely confident about the patriotism of armed forces.”
Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar had clarified, “The points raised in the (Express) report have already been clarified by the Army… such exercises are conducted by the Army from time to time.”