Leave behind past: Army Chief

NEW DELHI: New Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh today said the happenings of the recent past should be left behind but made it clear that no controversy will be brushed under the carpet.

“Car is driven by seeing ahead through the windscreen and not through the rear view mirror. My issue is that whatever has happened should be left behind and drive looking from the windscreen in taking the army ahead,” he told reporters after inspecting a guard of honor outside the Defense Ministry.

He was asked about Defense Minister A K Antony’s advice to forget the turbulence of the recent past.

Asked to comment on the strain in civil-military relations in the recent past, the Army Chief said he will have a look at the problems and find a way ahead.

“I have had five tenures in Army Headquarters and this will be the sixth one. We have had no problems in the past at least. Let me see what the problems are and we will take it forward.

“I am certain that given the wisdom on both sides, given the commitment on both sides, I am sure that there will be no problems,” he said.

Sending a firm message to his 1.3 million force, Gen Singh said he will strive to maintain its “secular and apolitical” outlook.

“Let us continue to be a secular and apolitical force and do our job the way it should be done,” the 59-year-old General said a day after taking charge of the force from Gen V K Singh whose tenure was mired in controversies. . He was asked to spell out his message to the army amid reports suggesting factional feuds at senior levels, a new low in civil military relationship and corruption allegations.

On allegations of a fake encounter in northeast and recent clash between officers and jawans in Ladakh, Gen Singh said all these cases would be dealt as per the rule book and “nothing should be brushed under the carpet”.

“I think there was a letter by my Chief of Staff to 3 Corps to investigate those allegations and let me tell you that there is nothing which should be brushed under the carpet. I wish to assure you this,” he said.

The Army Chief was asked to comment on allegations leveled by a major in letters to Chief of Army Staff, Eastern Command and 3 Corps Headquarters that a fake encounter was carried out by an intelligence unit under the 3 Corps in March 2010 in which three civilians were killed.

Asked if he felt that Nagaland-based 3 Corps was trying to brush things under the carpet as suggested by his predecessor yesterday, he said, “I am not saying that. I did not say that…. I am not going to comment on my worthy predecessor.”

Yesterday, Gen V K Singh had said he was alarmed that no investigation was carried out by the 3 Corps despite directions from the Army Headquarters into the allegations.

Asked how he was planning to deal with the incidents of clash between jawans and officers in Nyoma, alleged misconduct of jawans in UN mission in Congo and the allegations of fake encounter in Nagaland, he said, “All these cases will be dealt with as per the rulebook.” –PTI

 

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