Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2009 > February 2009 > Army Chief’s Impermissible Public Statement

Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 8, February 7, 2009

Army Chief’s Impermissible Public Statement

Wednesday 11 February 2009, by Rajindar Sachar


In modern democratic state, the sovereignty of the people is delegated to three wings of the state, namely, Executive, Legislature, Judiciary.
The other agencies, Bureaucracy, Military, though extremely important, do not publically comment on matters of policy, security. Though their experience, perception are extremely important to policy-makers, they do not speak in public about these matters.

It is in that context that I feel it was not correct for Army Chief General Deepak Kapur while speaking on ‘Sena Divas’ to the press to express his opinion that military option against the neighbouring country was open even now, and more alarmingly: “We have kept all options open, if diplomatic and economic options fail, war is the last resort.” I feel that the Army Chief has crossed the parameters of his function—may be he was trying to copy P. Chidambaram, who had made a similar provocative public statement (but then Chidambaram is a political animal—his indiscretions are political—and not taken seriously). But the Army Chief publically commenting on such a delicate crucial matter of war with a neighbouring country is impermissible. The government needs to convey a stern warning that the accepted parameters are not crossed. More so because all right thinking people are firm in their view that an “India-Pak war is never an option”.

No doubt the public give all the respect and thanks to the bravery, devotion of the Army, but even then the Army should not presume to speak in public. May be a low-key retraction and regret on the part of the Army Chief would be a correct response.

New Delhi Rajindar Sachar

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