31 December 2009

India's Army: Tension at the top

There is intrigue at the top of India's miitary, as the head of the Army and his likely successor are feuding.

A full-fledged row has broken out in the military establishment between the two top generals of the Indian Army: the chief, General Deepak Kapoor, and his putative successor and the Eastern Command boss, Lt General V.K. Singh.

The row is the latest in a series of tensions that have been building up between the army chief and the eastern army commander who is the senior-most lieutenant general.

The latest round has been triggered by a court of inquiry convened by the eastern army commander who is based in Fort William in Calcutta. It has asked for the sacking of Kapoor’s principal staff officer (PSO) and military secretary, Lt Gen. Avadhesh Prakash, who may be forced to make a premature exit.

The chief has made an abortive attempt to defend his key aide. Kapoor told defence minister A.K. Antony that Lt Gen. Singh was taking an “undue interest” in the case.

The court of inquiry, presided over by Tezpur-based 4 Corps commander Lt Gen. K.T. Parnaik, had forwarded its findings to Lt Gen. Singh. Based on the findings and on consultations with the judge advocate general in his command, the eastern army commander recommended the “termination of services” of Lt Gen. Prakash because of his alleged involvement in a land scam in north Bengal.

By: Brant

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