Army Chief General Bipin Rawat Thursday ruled out same-sex relations and decriminalising adultery in the force, saying that the Army is “conservative” and that LGBT issues “are not acceptable”.
Rawat’s remarks were in response to a question during his annual press conference on the Supreme Court rulings that decriminalised adultery and same-sex relations.
The Army Chief prefaced his response by reading out from an article published in The Indian Express on December 31, 2018, titled “The Army Must March Ahead”, which referred to the adultery issue and stated that “the dominant institutional view of the armed forces on the subject finds a huge resonance in conservative sections of our society”.
Rawat said: “Yes, we are very conservative.”
”We have neither modernised nor westernised…we can still take action against people. But we will not allow this to perpetuate into the Army….” he said.
On the LGBT issue, Rawat said: “We certainly are not above the country’s law. But when we join the Indian Army, some of the rights and privileges authorised to civilians by the Constitution are not authorised to me. The Supreme Court has said something and we have to see how we take a call. Let us also see how this comes into the society.”
Speaking on other issues, the Army Chief said India has been able to maintain peace on its disputed border with China after the informal Wuhan summit last year. He also refused to draw a parallel between talking to the Taliban in Afghanistan and holding talks with separatists in Kashmir, as suggested by some political leaders in the Valley.
Elaborating on his remarks that India needs to be part of talks with Taliban in Afghanistan, Rawat said: “If a number of countries are talking, and as India has interests in Afghanistan, can it stay out of the bandwagon? If we have interests in Afghanistan, should we in some way be part of talks, that is the point.”
But he refused to link his views on the Taliban issue to the situation in Kashmir. “J&K is a bilateral issue and there is no place for a third party…You have to shun violence, stop taking support from the western neighbour, stop attacking security forces, killing policemen and their families….,” he said.
The Army Chief also disputed the notion that the apolitical character of the force has been affected. “Something that affects internal security, if we get involved, it is said that we are getting politicised. This is an issue we need to rethink… Anything that concerns national security, we have to be clear if it is politicised,” he said.