No misunderstanding with MoD: Army Chief

Pune: A day prior to his retirement, Army Chief Gen V K Singh today sought to downplay the controversies surrounding him, saying there is "no misunderstanding" between him and the Defence Ministry.

He also said Defence Minister A K Antony was "very clear headed" in supporting the armed forces. "There is no misunderstanding between the Ministry of Defence and us. Army is part of the government. We are one. Whatever we say is listened to. The procedures are there. Sometimes you probably think that things are getting delayed because nobody is listening. That is not true and that is not the case," he said here addressing his last press conference ahead of his retirement tomorrow.

Referring to Antony, he said, "We have a Raksha Mantri who is very clear headed in supporting the armed forces."

Asked about the controversies surrounding him, he said, "Certain controversies were created…Certain controversies erupted. Certain controversies can be ascribed to my dear media friends who have great imagination to see a ghost behind every bush. I would say it has not concerned me at all. Somebody told me a lot of people throw insults at you. You actually deserve those insults is you react to them. If you are not concerned with those insults, don`t react to them," Gen Singh said.

On his charge that Lt. Gen (Retd.) Tejinder Singh had offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore for clearing a "substandard" truck deal, the Army Chief said, "I don`t want to comment on what Tejinder Singh has done. Those of us who know him well enough know what kind of things he tries, what he has been trying and what he has been doing.

"This is not a forum to castigate him or do anything else. He is most welcome to slide into any depths that he wants to."

Tejinder Singh has denied all allegation made against him by the Army Chief. The Army Chief also said, "I am quite sure that a person who tries all that will automatically realise his follies."

On issue of the leakage of his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the Army`s preparedness, he said, "That letter is confidential. I don`t want to discuss it."

Holding that he had set out on a target to transform the Army to make it more effective, agile and fit for the future, Gen Singh said, "I think we have put the Army on that path. It was not something that could be achieved in one or two years. It will happen in 15 to 20 years. I am quite sure it will continue."

Stressing that the Army is "apolitical", "absolutely secular" and "impartial", he maintained that the Army did what it stated. "This is not my Army or anybody else`s Army. And as a nation, I think, we should be proud of our Army."

On the issue of corruption, he said that every citizen of the country should fight against corruption. Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said, "Gandhiji had said that both doing and tolerating wrong is incorrect…We are together in this."

On if he was considering joining the anti-graft movement after his retirement, he said that till he retired from the Army, he would not talk about his post-retirement plans. "For the last two-and-a-half years I have been working on my PhD and that will be my first priority."