Army Chief Gen. V K Singh today said the report in The Indian Express on unusual troop movements in the direction of the capital in mid-January was absolutely stupid.
The comment,made in Nepal where he attended an international seminar on disaster management,was Gen. Singhs first reaction since the report was published on Wednesday.
This is absolutely stupid, Gen. Singh said when asked for a comment on the report. Unnecessary attempts are being made to throw mud at the Army. Whosoever is trying to make stories against the Army Chief is deplorable, he said. PTI quoted him as adding,Such people should be taken to task.
Gen. Singh promised the Nepalese leadership military help from India,including supply of arms and ammunition. Highly placed sources said Nepals President Ram Baran Yadav was keen to take up the offer of Indian support and cooperation,but Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai was cold.
Indian material and logistic support to the Nepalese army has been suspended since February 2005 when King Gyanendra took power for nearly 15 months. Nepals army fought a protracted war with the Maoists,which became particularly bitter in its last three years beginning November 2002. Baburam Bhattarai is vice-chairperson of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
Gen. Singh complimented the Nepalese army for hosting the seminar,which he said was of great regional value. He began his address with a half-sentence in Nepali,Mero yo samman mero saubhagya (I feel fortunate to have this honour),and said the two armies must work together in times of natural disasters.
The three-day seminar which concluded today was also attended by representatives from the armies of Pakistan,Sri Lanka and the US,and observers from the Chinese army.
LAST MONTH,He said there could be a story
In an interview Gen V K Singh gave to The Week on March 13, excerpts of which were published on Thursday,the Army Chief claimed there could be a report alleging irregularities in troop movements:
…let us say one of our forces or divisions or brigades does exercise,somebody will say,oh! they did exercise. It was not an exercise,they wanted to do something else. Now you will make a story out of it. There are lots of people who want to make stories these days for various nefarious aims,if I can put it like that… If somebody has got any doubt,they should come and face us. They wont because they know they are wrong… So,you tell him (journalist) something juicy,it comes on front page and nobody even looks whether there is any truth in it. It is already done. So,you have already thrown muck on somebody. There are lots of people who are doing that and I dont know what their motives are.