It is really sorry state of affairs that Indian Army and its chief General VK singh is in headlines for wrong reasons. He is the first serving Indian army chief to take the Government to Supreme Court but the apex court refused to intervene. But this was tip of the iceberg, the real controversy started when in an interview with The Hindu published on 26th March 2012 he said a lobbyist offered him a bribe of 14 crore in order to have a tranche of 600 sub-standard vehicles manufactured by Tatra cleared for purchase. The battle between the army chief and the government further escalated when on 28th March, a letter written by General V.K. Singh to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the army’s lack of preparedness was leaked to the media. Now the question is whether Army Chief General VK Singh is a hero or a villain?
He is seen as a hero by many people because of the following reasons ::
- The army chief has blown the whistle on the scams and corruption in army.
- No taint of personal corruption has affected his tenure at all.
- He is reflecting reality when pointing out weaknesses in Indian defence.
- He is trying his level best to bring transparency in the otherwise opaque world of defence deals.
Some people consider him a villian ::
- He has allegedly leaked the highly confidential letter to the media.
- He made bribery allegations public two years after the offer was made to him.
- He raised issues related to corruption and army’s lack of preparedness only after he lost out on the age row controversy.
- He has political aspirations as he is playing his caste card inside and outside the army.
My take on the Army Chief Controversy ::
- Still there is no proof whether he or anyone from PMO has leaked the confidential letter. However, General Singh clarifed that he had nothing to do with the contents of his letter to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh coming out in public domain.
- The moment General Singh took over the control, he started crusade against corruption in arm deals. He tried to transform the Indian army for future challenges.
- The message which is coming out of this controversy, is more important here and it is loud and clear that 97% of the air defence system is obsolete, we don’t have systems in place for night fighting, army tanks have run out of ammunition. We should focus on the content of the letter which proves that Indian army is in poor condition. People of India have still not forgotten what happened in Kargil war in 1999 when General Mailk admitted that Indian army was suffering from deficiency of army equipments.
- There is no denying the fact that the army chief has always been strict and honest and because of this lots of military purchases were slowed down and the corrupt beaurucrats and politicians were just waiting this army chief to retire.
- He is a whistleblower, who is trying to clean the system so the timing of leak or purpose behind this does not matter in this case.