Former army chief General VK Singh on Thursday indicated that New Delhi’s lack of firmness may have emboldened the Chinese army to step up aggression along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
“My understanding is if you are firm, the Chinese know where to draw the line,” he said during a freewheeling conversation with editors at HT. Singh was asked to comment on increased Chinese aggression along the disputed border.
Though reluctant to comment on the tenure of his successor General Bikram Singh with whom he reportedly shares an uneasy equation, the former chief said he had noticed a “minor change” in the army’s stance “in the last one year or so.” Bikram Singh took over as chief last June.
“If you give them the impression that you are flexible, they (the Chinese) are ready to exploit it,” he said.
He recalled how the army was able to thwart increased Chinese aggression in North Sikkim’s ‘finger area’ five years back by adopting a firm approach.
Singh clarified that sharing the stage with BJP’s prime ministerial-candidate Narendra Modi at a recent ex-servicemen’s (ESM) rally did not imply that he was joining the saffron party.
“I was there because it was an ESM rally. The invites were not sent out by the BJP, there was no lotus symbol,” said Singh, who had topped the prestigious Rangers course at Fort Benning in the US.
However, Singh said there was nothing wrong in retired soldiers plunging into politics and it should not be construed as politicisation of the force.
“We should not unnecessarily see ghosts under our chairs. Each army man votes and is very much part of the political system,” he said, citing examples of several retired generals who have dabbled in politics.
But is it not best for generals to walk into the sunset? Singh disagreed, “You can do that if you have no sense of responsibility. As for me, it is time to give back to society.”
Singh, who is currently working with anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare, said the ordinance on the protection of convicted MPs/MLAs proved that the jan lokpal bill could not be passed by this Parliament.