Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hoodoo against a Sikh as Army Chief laid to Rest

When the case of General VK Singh and his joust with the government finally ended. His plea for an extra year based on his revised date of birth was turned down and he retired on 31 May 2012. The Government announced that Lt General Bikram Singh who was the General Officer Commanding Eastern Command  would be the next Chief of the Indian army.

The Indian army is the 4th largest army in the world with a strength of over 1.2 million. It also faces a threat from both Pakistan and China, with whom the border extends to almost 5000 km. With both the nations India has a territorial dispute and the border is a live border. In such a scenario General VK Singh was wrong to stir the cauldron of date of birth, which in any case was a trivial matter where the geo-political situation is concerned.

General Bikram was the senior most officers and he was rightly anointed as the army Chief. This marked a departure from the earlier policy of not making a Sikh as the army chief by the Nehru Gandhi family. One can recollect that General Kulwant Singh was bypassed to the post of Army Chief in 1951 by Nehru in favor of General Cariappa.General Cariappa allowed things to simmer and made no appreciation of any Chinese threat, sitting smugly in his office.

Similarly in 1967 Lt General Harbaksh Singh was bypassed in favor of Maneckshaw by Indira Gandhi. This trend changed when JJ Singh took over as army chief under the NDA and BJP rule. The government of Man Mohan Singh did the right thing and appointed Bikram Singh as the Army Chief. Singh is a 1972 batch officer and is from a generation that has not actively fought a war.

Notwithstanding this the hoodo against appointing a Sikh was laid to rest.