Ministry likely to ask Army Chief to explain US award

Officials said the award ceremony was not part of the original itinerary.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:December 14, 2013 3:14 am

The Defence Ministry is likely to ask Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh to explain the receipt of an award from the US government during his visit to the nation earlier this month without taking clearances from the government.

The Army Chief,who was conferred with the Legion of Merit which is the sixth highest US military award,is the fifth Indian armed forces chief to have been given this honour.

However,sources said the requisite permissions may not have been taken by the General before accepting the award from the US military.

In the past,several chiefs,including Field Marshal K M Kariappa,have been conferred with the Legion of Merit.

Officials said the government was not kept in the loop when the award was conferred and it only came to know about the honour through media reports. Officials said the award ceremony was not part of the original itinerary.

However,sources said the issue could be a matter of misunderstanding as it is not clear if the Army was aware that permissions had to be taken before accepting the honour.

While several Army Chiefs,including Gen Rajendra Singhji,have been conferred the award,the last time it was received by an Indian officer was in 1978 by the then Navy Chief Admiral Jal Cursetji.

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