Army chief General Deepak Kapoor is facing criticism for not cutting short his foreign tour at a time when the country is crippled by its worst ever terror strike.
Creating a vacuum in the top military leadership, the army chief did not consider it necessary to revise his itinerary in South Africa and Botswana in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on Mumbai. Neither was he advised by the military brass to return.
Kapoor, who left for Africa on November 23 on a weeklong official tour, was not present at a meeting of top military and intelligence officials called by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday. Army vice chief Lieutenant General Milan Naidu represented the army.
Defence ministry sources said, “The chief could have considered cancelling his tour. The army and NSG, which has personnel drawn from the army, were intricately involved in the operation. It would have sent a positive message, even if it is argued that it was an internal security situation.”
But senior officials in the army headquarters tried to deflect the criticism arguing that the chief was in touch with developments at home and there was no need for him to take the first flight back.
Kapoor’s absence from the country at a time of crisis evokes grim déjà vu.