What is going on in the country? This is a common question of most Indians these days. The Army Chief’s age row issue, his shocking letter to the PM, his ugly bribery allegations and the recent Indian Express’ frenzy ‘coup’ story. The entire episode that we have witnessed in the past couple of months is turning out to be a sordid tale of poor governance, mistrust, ego polity, dictatorial tendencies, the leadership crisis, a systemic rot in the country’s finest public institution and of course, rudderless media. Many uncomfortable questions arise out of all these issues; issues that have exposed the inefficiencies of the civil and military establishments. Let us have a look at some of them.
By moving to the SC over his date of birth dispute with the government, the Army Chief did the most unparalleled thing. In the end, it all turned out to be a pathetic display of miscommunication and ego polity between the UPA’s leaders and the Army Chief. The General wasn’t ready to withdraw his case even though he had accepted several promotions in his career, by virtue of the same date of birth as mentioned in the government records. What triggered in him the urge to fight for his DOB, and that too, at the end of his career, is still a mystery. I wish the matter had been dealt with care by the Defence Minister, the PMO and of course, General VK Singh. Was the situation so messed up that senior leaders of the Congress and the Defence Minister couldn’t reach an amicable settlement? And of course, the Indian citizens want an honest answer from General VK Singh. What exactly did he have in mind, bringing up the issue of his date of birth at the time he did?
Why did General VK Singh Never take Strict Action on the Bribery Issue?Â Â Â Â Â Â
After the SC dismissed the Army Chief’s plea, he should have accepted it and moved on. But the General had his own plan of action. Should we call it a result of the inflated ego of an Army Chief that he went on to expose some horrific loopholes in the Army openly? Or is the Army Chief really willing to root out corruption in the Indian army? Or, was it just his dictatorial tendencies that carried him so far? If the allegations by him are proven true by CBI, it will be a huge blow to the safety of India and a blot on the Indian Army. But again, questions are being raised against the General himself. Why did he wait for two years to come out in the public? Why he didn’t take action against the middlemen and those involved in the entire scam? Is the General ready to justify his sudden outbursts? What has been his motivation to expose loopholes suddenly?
Why did the Defence Minister Not Act on General VK Singh’s Complains?Â Â Â Â Â Â
The General has reportedly told in the interview to The Hindu that he had informed AK Antony regarding the bribery issue, but the Defence Minister did not take any action. There are reports that have almost proven that AK Antony did know about the issue. So, why did this Minister, known for his integrity, not take any action? The government must ask his Defence Minister instead of just routinely throwing him out. How deep is the malaise?
Will the Government Establish Transparency Norms and Clean the Army?
In the year 2000, during the BJP Government era, Tehelka had exposed corruption in many departments of the Defence and Army. It was a sting operation that led to the resignation of the then Defence Minister, George Fernandes. In the wake of it, lots of promises were made by elite leaders to clean up the army, eliminate the Defence middlemen and keep a check on the army’s accounts and deals. Clearly, nothing has happened and even after a decade, the army is witnessing the same issue. Irrespective of the government at the Centre, our defence forces have been mired in corruption. Now, when the allegations come from the Army Chief, it is hard to ignore them. Maybe he has acted out in anger, but if what he says is true, the Congress government must take stern action to ensure that the army is cleaned up. India’s security has been jeopardized for decades. Is the ruling government listening?
Why the Indian Express Behaved in Such an Irresponsible Way?
The Indian Express went way too far to publish a story that suggested the possibility of a coup in India. Anybody who has read the story completely will notice that the news has been covered in such a fashion that it is confusing in many aspects. Neither has the newspaper completely accepted that it might have been a coup attempt, nor are they denying it in totality. It is like a fictional work, open to interpretations. What should a citizen interpret from the ‘coup’ story? That an Army Chief, upset on a baseless age issue is all set to topple the Democratic Government? Or, was it an attempt to create more conflict between the already troubled Army Chief and civil government? Indian Express should give proof of what they have said and they must answer why they chose such a controversial time to publish the news during. Over to the Editor-in-Chief, the Indian Express.
The whole debate on the controversy reaches its lowest level when we find that no one is willing to take responsibility and act boldly. AK Antony is blaming General VK Singh and the General in return blames the Defence minister. The Prime Minister is finding it tough to handle unexpected conflicts and the Government seems to be counting its days in power. Government documents and confidential papers are getting leaked from the PMO and Defence offices for the media to access and create unnecessary sensation. Who is leaking the documents? It is time to ponder deeply on our safety issues. There is a ray of light in all this bleak darkness. If the Congress acts smartly, it can modernize the army procurement process and make it corruption free. Never in the official history of any country, has it happened that the man who leads the nation during war has openly accepted that he was bribed by officers of the same institution. The monster-headed hydra of corruption is not leaving any institution untouched. It is time to forget the issue on who is to be blamed and act.