‘It’s time country let the Army be’https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/its-time-country-let-the-army-be/

‘It’s time country let the Army be’

Last veteran of 1971 war Lt Gen SR Ghosh retires

Last veteran of 1971 war Lt Gen SR Ghosh retires

“If any controversy took place,it was only in the power corridors of Delhi. We have kept out of it. I personally did not have the time. Could it have been avoided? ….I am not sure,” said Lt Gen S R Ghosh,General Officer Commanding-in-Chief,Western Command,at a farewell function here on Thursday.

The last of the 1971 Indo-Pak war veterans,Lt Gen Ghosh,today retired after a distinguished service spanning over four decades. Ghosh,who could have been the Army Chief had Gen V K Singh put in his papers,believes that his superior,who also retired today,“fought for what he thought to be right.”

“Whenever I spoke to the Chief,he told me that it was his personal issue,” Ghosh said,adding that he believes that “it has not affected the Command.”

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After a wreath laying ceremony at war memorial Veer Smriti at Chandimandir near here,Lt Gen Ghosh,remarked in the Veer Smriti Visitor Book “as the last veteran of the 1971 Indo-Pak war,I hang up my uniform and pay my solemn gratefulness to our brave soldiers who laid down their lives for our tomorrow”.

A guard of honour was also presented to Lt Gen Ghosh.

Later,interacting with the media,Ghosh spoke on various controversies,including the recent ones surrounding Gen Bikram Singh’s appointment as the new Army Chief.

“It has become a norm these days that when someone takes over,they (controversies) are floated. Gen Bikram Singh was injured in J&K. I knew the officer who got killed in that operation. He was from my school. I feel its time the country should let the Army be. I know Gen Bikram Singh very well. His battalion was under me when I was commanding a brigade in J&K and he was doing a course in USA. He is extremely competent and will be a very dynamic leader of the Army,” Lt Gen Ghosh said.

Before leaving for his new house in Sector 9,Panchkula,with his wife Bulbul Ghosh,the Lt Gen addressed the officers and said,“I am not going to shake hands with all of you,because then the emotions come up. It was lovely being with you all.”

An alumnus of St Josephs,Nainital and National Defence Academy,Khadakwasla,Ghosh was commissioned on November 14,1971 and immediately participated in Indo-Pakistan war in J&K.

Besides commanding one of the oldest battalions of The Brigade of The Guards,Ghosh has commanded an Infantry Brigade on the Line of Control,an Infantry Division,The Mathura-based Strike Corps and the prestigious Western Army from where he retired today. He also served in various important staff appointments and has had the distinction to serve as the Defence and Military Attache at Washington,USA.

Lt Gen Ghosh was awarded the Sena Medal,the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and the Param Vishisht Seva Medal.