The Ministry of Defence Mess and the Reality

CHENNAI, 29 March 2012, (Major MG Devasahayam, IAS)* – The open feud between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Chief of the Army Staff arose out of the contrived Date of Birth (DoB) controversy. A corrupt cabal had conspired since 2006 to truncate Gen VK Singh’s tenure by digging out UPSC application form and trashing his School Certificate.

Yet, neither the DoB issue is over yet, as is being wrongly believed, nor is the tenure of General VK Singh going to end in the next two months as is being widely claimed. The fact is that Supreme Court has put the ball back in the court of MoD by ruling: “As a matter of fact, the question before us in the Writ Petition is not about the determination of actual date of birth of the petitioner, but it concerns the recognition of a particular date of birth of the petitioner by the respondent (Government of India) in the official service record.”

It is therefore imperative that the MoD has to first pass a legally speaking order ‘recognising’ Gen VK Singh’s real DoB as per law and Rules that hold School Certificate as paramount. This has not been done and the retirement orders of Gen VK Singh have not been served on him till now. Yet MoD has nominated and named his successor (for whose benefit the entire conspiracy and manipulation took place) to take over as COAS on 31 May 2012.

This action is untenable and the real cause of the mess that MoD has got into and only they are to be blamed. Instead they are trying to pass it on to Gen VK Singh by insinuating that he is now a ‘frustrated man’ and is trying to rake up the Tatra bribery issue and leaking out his letter on ‘defence preparedness’ to PM to seek revenge. Some MPs, including congenitally corrupt ones, have asked for Gen VK Singh’s summary dismissal and arrest without even holding an enquiry!

This way of portraying the serving chief of the Indian Army as an adversary just because he is fighting against corruption and injustice is wrought with serious danger and consequences. It is our Armed Forces who have defended and protected our democracy through their valour, sacrifice and total sense of patriotism, bereft of any political ambitions as in our neighbouring countries. It is largely because of them thatIndiastands tall as a free and sovereign Republic. Among the armed forces, the Army is the largest and the most visible face. The chief of that force has a special status in the nation’s affairs and he cannot be distinguished from the Institution he heads. When an institution like the Army is impaled, it is the people who bleed.

The politico-bureaucratic power coterie that is trying to bulldoze the Army Chief is very distressing. If the serving Army Chief is treated this way and these corrupt cabals have their final say at least for two generations, no military commander will raise his head. And the message for military commanders will be that it isn’t merit, honesty or integrity that will get them promotions and tenures but pandering to the corrupt politico-bureaucratic cabal. The last bastion of professional meritocracy inIndiawill crumble and the damage will be lasting.

This is an open war between the honest and the corrupt and cannot be countenanced in the interest of national security and integrity in governance. It is time people with conscience stood up and be counted.

*Major MG Devasahayam, IAS, was commissioned in The MADRAS Regt in 1964 and is a Veteran of the 1965 War with Pakistan. After having served five years in the Army, Major MG Devasahayam opted for IAS; and has done the Army proud by retiring as Secretary to the Govt. of India. He is a prolific writer on socio & economic  matters.


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