People should know what some ‘rogue’ elements in government have achieved so far

Lt Gen PC Katoch (Retd)


Vol 3 | Issue 14

Visit Jaigarh Fort in Jaipur and you see ‘Jaivana’, a 50 ton cannon crafted in 18th Century that fired a trial shot to a distance of 22 miles (35.2 kms), scaring the enemy so much no one ever attacked Jaigarh.

The West came up with equivalent range cannon two centuries later.

The way Gen. V K Singh has been treated by the government has caused resentment among ex-army officers (File photo)

Visit London Science Museum and you find proof that British learnt rocketry only after battling Tipu Sultan, carrying pieces of rockets fired by him and doing reverse engineering.

Where are our big guns and cannons today?

Recently, we had an ex diplomat assigning the title of “loose cannon” to Gen VK Singh.

The same gentleman had earlier lamented on TV that the General should be bothering about Maldives rather than his own age. Even prior to that, he had fired a shot on 3rd February that all the trashy articles published against General VK Singh had been authorized by the Prime Minister – significantly while the former’s petition was still sub-judice with the Supreme Court.

What he, and all those trying to heap muck on the Army Chief should understand is that shots fired with talcum powder (not gun powder) can at best cause temporary subterfuge.

Why spoof the main issue by referring to Maldives knowing full well that military can reach Maldives in a matter of hours for any assistance, as demonstrated earlier - but what about the cannons and guns handling our foreign policy who have no idea of what is cooking in our immediate neighborhood?

Instead of targeting the Army Chief, he could have advised his own brood to at least make sure their boss reads his own speech at the UN instead of someone else’s.

Perhaps they could have requested the Prime Minister to mention to Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the BRICS summit, the ruthless and degrading manner in which our businessmen are being treated in China even post Yiwu.

Is there any need to bend even more backwards, simultaneously raining sticks on protesting Tibetans? Perhaps we could learn from Italy’s concern for their nationals.

What for sure has happened is that there is plenty scurrying around because of the exposures. That is why even an old timer was called up for support - who appeared half inebriated on TV - while another seasoned diplomat was talking of strictures passed by the Supreme Court on General VK Singh whereas nothing of the sort has happened. Either he had not read the Supreme Court judgment at all or is striving for a Padma Bhushan like the inebriated gentleman.

Even as declassified US documents of 1962 show that the US never wanted India and China to join hands, the politico-bureaucratic hierarchy in India are not interested in the three Services joining hands or shall we say actually integrating and more importantly institutionalize the politico-military connect.

The former NSA has been a party to the same line of thought. That is why HQ Integrated Defence Staff was created with ‘no integration’ and establishment of the Chief of Defence Staff has no chance of coming through. Military diplomacy in furtherance of national security objectives is virtually non-existent. Of course many national heads have mentioned in the past that CIA has its agents within the government too.

The former NSA being interviewed obviously knew little of mechanics of procurement, which are:

• Equipment already in service (like TATRA vehicles) is procured by MoD (not military). Indents placed by Services too are cleared by MoD’s Department of Defence Production (DoPD).

• For new equipment too, Services involvement is only trials and preferences and nothing beyond. Actual procurement is by MoD / government.

Even if one has not served in MoD / Defence Production, one should know where the ‘moolah / gravy’ goes and who benefited from the TATRA deals. It is this very nexus that is hell bent on running down General VK Singh.

The mafia would like him buried before more skeletons tumble out. Isn’t this the very reason that the inquiry into the sordid TATRA scam is being headed by someone within the DoPD and not an independent body?

Why is it that with the best brains, we are still importing 70 percent of defence requirements and even the much touted LCA has 40 percent imported parts including the engine?

Is there a deliberate nexus to keep us dependent on imports – that facilitates greater corruption and cuts?

As for the interviewer, the son is obviously haunted by the ghosts of 1962. He obviously considers his dad (of the 1962 war fame) as the "worst chief" and wants the label passed on to someone else.

I doubt if he can get over his ghosts if he has not been able to do so in so many years.

The fact is that the atmosphere of total political unilateralism and political favouritsm that prevailed in 1962 continues to prevail today. Of course the Jeep Scandal of 1962 has been overtaken by the TATRA's, Rafael's and what have you.

Karan's performance shames his own lineage.

The citizenry should know what the ‘rogue’ elements in the government have achieved so far:

• The Supreme Court ‘never’ ruled that General VK Singh’ date of birth for purposes of service will be 10 May 1950. The Honorable Court made the government withdraw the letter rejecting the statutory complaint of General VK Singh. The government has ‘not’ replied to the statutory complaint of General VK Singh and is unlikely to do so.

• The Supreme Court passed ‘no strictures’ on General VK Singh although the orchestrated media blitz portrayed otherwise. The citizenry needs to read the Supreme Court judgment in this regard available on the net.

• The news report regarding retirement orders of General VK Singh having been issued is ‘absolutely false’. ‘No’ retirement orders have been issued in his case. These news items were deliberately planted to facilitate announcement of the next Chief.

• Hundreds of veterans have petitioned the President of India (Supreme Commander of The Armed Forces) a month back to intervene and undo the injustice being done to General VK Singh in retiring him 10 months before he should actually retire. .

• At least two RTI’s were sent by groups of individuals / individuals to MoD requesting on how date of birth of General VK Singh has been fixed as 10 May 1950 after the Supreme Court opined that actions by MoD had been taken against the norms of ‘natural justice’. Whether these RTI’s elicit any response is a matter of guesswork, for we may have made scientific advancements in even making possible change of biological dates of birth.

The author is a veteran Special Forces officer

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