Lt Gen KJ Singh, Western Command commander, who is retiring on Sunday, has said that the role of army in tackling the terrorists at Dinanagar (Gurdaspur) on July 27 last year was underplayed.
He said the light machine gun (LMG) bullets that killed at least one of the three terrorists were those of army. “At Dinanagar, Punjab Police wanted to tackle terrorists on their own. But by the time they reached there, our jawans had taken positions. Of the three terrorists, our LMG fire killed at least one (or it can be two) as we backed the police,” he said. He said a bomb too was disposed of by the army, but all the credit went to the police.
“At Western Command, to deal with terrorism was my main task. Pakistan wanted to alter the arc of terrorism by including Gurdaspur, Samba. We had terrorist incidents at Arambag, Arnia, Samba, Dinanagar and Pathankot. We thwarted Pakistan’s designs,” he said.
Will ride the tank he was commissioned on
“I will spend some time on the tank at Amritsar on which I was commissioned,” said Lt Gen KJ Singh. He will go to Amritsar on Sunday for fulfilling his wish. On how did he find the tank, he said, “Like people find their ex-girlfriends on Facebook, I also found ZX 1685. It’s a T-55 tank and is still in service.”
“My journey with the Army started 50 years ago at an age of 14 when I joined the Sainik School at Chittorgarh, in 1966. On May 30, 1973, I left the school and joined NDA on June 30 the same year. I never went to college. The only college I went to was Army War College,” he said.
Lt Gen Singh will hang his boots after 39 years’ of service.
“Only I am retiring, not the Western Command. I cannot comment on why a permanent commander has not been appointed. But Lt Gen Jagbir Singh Cheema, General Officer Commanding (GOC), Vajra Corps, who has been given the charge as an interim arrangement, is fully competent. The only thing is that he doesn’t have a fixed tenure. He has been GOC of 11 Corps for a year and before that he was Chief of Staff, Eastern Command,” he said.
Western Command shares 200-km border with China. “But we don’t have any boundary dispute with China in this area…At Kaurik and Shipki La, we are eyeball to eyeball with them. We have to remain vigilant,” he said.
On future plans
Lt Gen KJ Singh said he wanted to settle down in Gurgaon, but after coming here, he changed his mind. “As of now, I don’t have a house of my own, but I have invested in DLF Valley, Pinjore. I will settle down there,” he said. He thanked Panjab University for offering him the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Chair chair to him.