Bonhomie at Antony dinner for Army Chief speeches

New Delhi: Defence Minister A K Antony`s dinner for outgoing Army Chief Gen V K Singh last night was marked by bonhomie but there were no farewell speeches.

No speeches were made at the farewell dinner for Gen Singh and his wife Bharati Singh hosted by Antony and his wife Elizabeth, sources said today, adding it was unusual as generally officials present say a few lines about the outgoing Service chiefs at farewell functions.

The Army Chief, who retires on May 31, has been involved in a tussle with the Defence Ministry over several issues including the row over his date of birth.

Defence Ministry spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said there was "bonhomie" at the dinner where the Defence Minister and his wife played perfect hosts at the Army Battle Honours Mess. Antony gifted a silver bowl to the outgoing Chief as a memento.

National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon, Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, Director General Acquisition Vivek Rae, IDS Chief Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha and Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma were present on the occasion.

Gen Singh`s last major function would be the National Defence Academy passing out parade on May 30 in Khadakvasla near Pune. He will hand over the reins of the Army to Lt Gen Bikram Singh on May 31 afternoon.