Veterans not being looked after: Captain Amarinder | punjab | top | Hindustan Times
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Veterans not being looked after: Captain Amarinder

While dismissing the charge that the army is being politicised, Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh agreed that veterans are not being looked after.

punjab Updated: Dec 09, 2017 23:19 IST
Manraj Grewal Sharma
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh.
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh at the Military Literature Festival in Chandigarh.(Sanjeev Sharma/HT)

The veterans in the country are not at peace at a time when China is baring its fangs. And no army in the world can call itself war-ready if it can’t look after its veterans, their families, and the disabled soldiers. This was the warning veterans sent out to the government as the maiden military literature festival drew to a close here on Saturday evening.

While dismissing the charge that the army is being politicised, Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh agreed that veterans are not being looked after. “The defence minister wants to cap the subsidy on education of their wards to save a mere Rs 3 crore. A man dies for his country; it’s our duty to look after his family,” he fumed.

When Vir Sanghvi, who was moderating the concluding session on the Sino-Indian conflict of 1962, asked him if he would keep his word as a politician as well, Amarinder declared, “Yes,” adding he would readily foot the bill of Rs 3 crore. He recounted how an injured soldier breathing his last had just one question for his officer, “Who will look after my children?” The officer replied, “Aap ke bache sarkar ke bache ho gaye hain.”

Earlier, Lt Gen SS Brar (retd) warned of the nation facing a 1962-like situation. “We are being told that we are ready for war on two-and-a-half fronts when we have gaps in our armoury; our army is short of 1,200 officers; and when we have only 33 squadrons against 45 needed to defend our airspace,” he growled.

Amarinder said it is a matter of concern that the Chinese were making incursions in the eastern sector as well as in Ladakh. “It is unfortunate that even though we had planned to raise two divisions in the East, we haven’t even raised one fully,” he groused.

The festival, which saw over 200 authors, historians and gallantry award winners and 33 sessions, ended with a big round of applause for the disciplined army of students who managed everything from the registration to seats for visitors, with a ready smile. Delivering the valedictory address, Amarinder hoped the festival would motivate more youngsters to join the army. A group of girl students from Shemrock, queuing up to receive the commendation certificates, were all smiles as they nodded. “We will apply for the army now,” they chorused.