The Chief of the Indian army general VK Singh has not exactly covered himself with glory. It required the Supreme Court to show the general that he was wrong. Clichés aside it stood out that the plea of the General that his date of birth be treated as 1951 in place of 1950 came a cropper. He lost out and now will retire in May 2012.
But deeper issues are involved. Here was a head of the 3rd largest standing army in the world and perhaps the finest fighting machine in Asia being under mined by Chief who could not
think beyond his nose. I shudder to think the outcome of a war in case General VK Singh was in charge. Here is a general who put self before service and that is unpardonable for an officer of the finest fighting army in Asia and more than a match for any other force in the world.
VK Singh may be right about his
date of birth, but that is not the point. By taking up his own and the nation’s precious time to fight a case on his date of birth showed that in effect he did not have the qualities of a great soldier. The army is sacred for an officer and in case Singh were to petition the court, why did not he do it on contentious issues like one rank one pension and other matters. Perhaps VK Singh rose up to the position of the Army Chief by playing the right game and making the right noises. Nemesis finally caught up with him in the form of the Supreme Court.
I suppose the general has lost face and as most commentators and senior retired generals have pointed out, it is about time he hung up his boots. He can still make amends by resigning gracefully and like old soldiers fade away into the sunset.