Leaked letter controversy: Govt-military row rages on in India

Published: March 31, 2012

Retired Indian general says Pakistanis ‘must be laughing’. PHOTO: AFP

NEW DEHLI: For what it’s worth, Pakistan may not be the only country plagued with civil-military tensions. In fact, even the largest democracy in the world and our very own arch-rival, India, has not mastered the art of steering clear of strife between generals and politicians.

The row between the Government of India and the military chief raged on for the third consecutive day on Friday over a leaked letter that the latter wrote to the prime minister detailing gaps in the Indian army’s preparedness

On March 30, Indian army chief General VK Singh, who till quite recently was involved in a controversy with the government over his retirement age issue, said that the government should do all it can to find out who leaked the contents of the letter to the media and charge them with “high treason”.

Singh issued a strongly-worded statement saying that there were “rogue elements” who were trying to project a reality in which there was a schism between him and Indian defence minister AK Antony.

As this controversy continues, several leading politicians have made calls for General Singh to be sacked – some of this could well be a fallout of the previous retirement age matter which brought the Indian government unneeded negative publicity at a time when it was dealing with allegations of corruption. Some well-known Indian journalists also commented on the issue on Twitter with one saying that though the age controversy was over, India’s army chief needed to “grow up”.

According to the Times of India, Defence Minister Antony told parliament that the publication of the contents of the letter amounted to a “breach of national security”. The Times of India reported on March 30 that the Pakistani media (it mentioned this newspaper, The News and Dawn specifically) had also prominently covered the issue and quoted an unnamed retired Indian general as saying that the Pakistanis “must be laughing”.

Also, in recent days, General Singh was in the news because of an alleged offer for a bribe he claims was made to him by a defence contractor, a retired three-star general. Once the latter’s name appeared in the Indian media, he said he would sue General Singh for libel. When this matter arose, Mr Antony said that the army chief should have acted on it immediately, questioning why he waited to mention it at this particular point.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 31st, 2012.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Mar 31, 2012 - 1:09PM

    No Indian commenting over it today….all is well na…..:)

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  • Tahir
    Mar 31, 2012 - 2:59PM

    I am not surprised over the issue -:) But I am really astonished at the absence of Cross-the-Border comments at this news :P :P

    Failure is failure, wherever it is; whether it’s Pakistan or India !!! I wish, our neighbors could understand this reality !!!

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  • Anuj
    Mar 31, 2012 - 3:31PM

    @ Tahir….come on, you think this petty matter is so serious…..but i wont be surprised if you equate it with the Army-Govt relations in pakistan, for pakistanis are really short-sighted and can see all the evil in others than within them…..Indian Govt is still in control of Army and will be….Can pakistan sack its high-ranked military personnel on corruption charges, NO….can pakistan force its Chief-of-Army to listen to the GOVT, Hell NO….Your generals are obsessed with the german cars and all the luxurious things while Pakistan begs for alms for its day-to-day matter……Pakistanis still cry about 2002 Godhra riots but turn a blind eye to the state of minorities in their own country…..They jump into joy about Maoist and Naxal problem in India but have lost count how many are killed in Pakistan by their own strategic assets, neither they are concerned about the Balochistan, NWF or other troubled regions in their own country…..In pakistan, even a new-born comes into this world with a begging bowl in hand still they are much more worried about the poor in India……its always fun to chat with a pakistani, they so easily ignore failed state tag of Pakistan while mud-slinging rest of the world as if world has nothing better to do than meddling with Pakistan…..

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  • Hamdal
    Mar 31, 2012 - 4:33PM

    Why this kolavery…

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  • Tahir
    Mar 31, 2012 - 4:54PM

    @Anuj hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah -:) Old Mantra with nothing new :P :P Thanks for such long reply to my comment :D

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  • Mar 31, 2012 - 6:08PM

    I think Indian army should be given more power. And then nobody will laugh. And the Indian politicians will behave themselves!!

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  • Vinayak
    Mar 31, 2012 - 6:22PM

    Mr Antony said that the army chief should have acted on it immediately, questioning why he waited to mention it at this particular point.

    You leave out a lot of detail, and it did not happen the way you are mentioning.

    Mr Antony admitted in parliament that the general told him about the alleged bribe offer. Antony named the person who allegedly offered the bribe, the general did not. As to questions from the opposition as to why no action was taken against the alleged person offering the bribe, Antony told that he left the matter to the General. As per the general, the bribe offer was very subtle and difficult to prove, hence he did not file a complaint with police, but he reported the matter to the Minister in concern.

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  • Singh
    Mar 31, 2012 - 7:09PM

    Indian Army don’t have 111 brigade. It is democratic process in progress. It happen in every democratic country. Pak army should learn from Indian army.

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  • JSM
    Mar 31, 2012 - 7:13PM

    Priyanka
    You mean like in Pakistan.

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  • Yash
    Mar 31, 2012 - 7:15PM

    @Dr Priyanka:

    noways…i disagree….

    @to my dear pakistani brothers….its not army-govt rift…its army general-govt rift….

    a case of corruption which is being dealt with….THATS ALL….

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  • Pinto
    Mar 31, 2012 - 8:00PM

    @Anuj: you’re absoulutely right mate

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  • Cautious
    Mar 31, 2012 - 8:25PM

    They can always use Pakistan as an example and form an independent Commission. Begin by having a few false starts on trying to select “independent” members — have “independent” members of the Commission pontificate on the final conclusion before they investigate anything — then sit back and watch the Commission take testimony from ever conceivable person who has nothing to do with the controversy. After a yr or so of dragging their feet maybe the people will lose interest. Sound familiar?

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  • Maqbool
    Mar 31, 2012 - 8:30PM

    @Dr Priyanka History has witnessed Indian army has enough power where they need it, i.e. the battlefields. Given any more than that they’ll start behaving like the ones in their neighbourhood. Not good from a long term perspective.

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  • BlackJack
    Mar 31, 2012 - 8:47PM

    @ABC:
    This is the third article on the same topic with nothing substantially new to report. Indians get bored too, you know.

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  • Ashvinn
    Mar 31, 2012 - 9:18PM

    Indian army chief is a part of GOI machinery unlike others countries where armed forces are power centres by themselves, our army chief is being a pain in the neck nothing much he is not threat to our political system

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  • trrayta
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:10AM

    our govt can kick out our any top level military and any one in your country can kick out your democ leaders.just imagine if 42 billion dollars military are not used for buying bullets then for what are they being spent on…

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  • pakistanibaloch
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:20AM

    @Anuj:
    LOL old story ,same things repeating!!!!

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  • pakistani baloch
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:21AM

    same useless things repeating

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  • Adnan
    Apr 1, 2012 - 12:55AM

    @Tahir:
    @Anuj:

    Ha ha hah ha ha ha ha ha! Spot on Anthony!

    Come on Indian trolls- where’s your sense of humour? Unable to laugh at yourselves? Looks like the Indian nation ‘needs to grow up’!

    The state of your armed forces is the same as your democracy: SHAMBOLIC.

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  • pakistani baloch
    Apr 1, 2012 - 2:13AM

    @Anuj:
    @Tahir:

    same persons

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  • Adnan
    Apr 1, 2012 - 2:31AM

    @Cautious:

    Why not do it as India always has: sweep it under the rug and pretend nothing’s happened- like the $2.5 million bribe offered to Singh?

    Atleast Pakistan goes through the motions- India doesnt even bother with that. Corruption is so deeply entrenched in the institutions of state that they have dispensed with the facade of democratic ‘checks and balances’.

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  • General VK Singh, the King
    Apr 2, 2012 - 11:08AM

    I am Sorry for being Honest.
    I am Sorry for thinking of Saving Our India
    I am Sorry for Opening my mouth for truth.
    I am extremely sorry for ” Not taking Bribe and Enjoy Luxurious life in foreign Countries”.
    I am sorry for thinking of future save of my children s (Every Proud Indian)/Future Generation.
    I am Sorry for Not making any scam on my name.
    I am sorry for not giving Arunachal Pradesh to China.
    I am sorry for dreaming about “Powerful India”.
    I am Sorry for giving you all trouble by thinking, giving tension and making you to sit on FACEBOOK and chit chat about me.

    At-last I am Sorry for All Soldiers for not let u to go home, making u awake in night at borders and giving you refrigerated food in -14degree Temp.

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