'Rogue elements' creating wedge, says V K singh
Asserts that the army, and by extension, its chief, are part of the govt |
New Delhi: Sounding a conciliatory note over the controversies relating to him, Army chief General VK Singh yesterday blamed "rogue elements" for trying to create a rift between him and the government. His remarks come a day after he sought to clarify that he was not instrumental in getting a "top secret" letter he wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on gaps in defence preparedness leaked to the media.
On the defensive: General VK Singh was in the Capital yesterday to
address an aerospace and defence conference organised by ASSOCHAM.
"Rogue elements are trying to create a schism" between him and the government," Gen Singh said, and called the leaking of his letter "high treason", seeking the strongest action against the culprits. Defence Minister AK Antony too had echoed his views, saying it was "an anti-national" act and that he had ordered an Intelligence Bureau probe to get to the root of the leakage of the letter. Antony had, however, said that all the three defence chiefs "enjoyed the confidence" of the government.
In his latest statement issued to the media, Gen Singh said, "The army, and by extension the chief of army staff, are a part of the government." He also clarified on raising the issue of graft in the defence deals, because a particular retired lieutenant general, whom he had chided earlier for offering a bribe of Rs 14 crore for clearing a deal for army trucks, had resurfaced earlier this month.
The army chief had said that he had informed Antony of the bribe offer from the retired officer. Singh suggested that the army had taken "institutional corrective steps" after he talked to Antony about the bribe offer "to keep a wary eye" on alleged bribe-givers.
Earlier in the day, Gen Singh was at the ongoing defence exposition in the Capital, and went around the stalls of several defence companies. However, he gave the slip to the media and left the venue without interacting with reporters.
Defence Minister should resign: BJP
Upping pressure on the government over army chief's allegation that he was offered bribe to clear Tatra truck contracts, the BJP yesterday demanded defence minister's resignation over the controversial issue. "If the probe in Tatra trucks is continuing from 2009 to 2011, if it is not completed in two years, then this government and this Defence Minister are trying to cover up corruption," said BJP leader Prakash Javadekar. "If you are patronising corruption, you have no right to remain in power and should resign," he said.
India tests fastest cruise missile
India tested the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos from a test range in Odisha yesterday. The missile was launched from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range in Chandipur, about 230 km from Bhubaneswar. The BrahMos has a range of 290 km and can carry a conventional warhead of up to 300 kg. It has a top speed of Mach 2.8, which is about three times faster than the US subsonic Tomahawk cruise missile. This makes BrahMos one of the fastest cruise missiles in the world.