Saturday, April 1st, 2023 09:34:21

The Fake Military Coup

Updated: March 15, 2014 1:15 pm

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should order investigations by a retired Supreme Court Judge into the fake military coup propagated by former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma maligning and belittling the Indian Army. It is becoming obvious that the ‘babus’ in MoD, who are unable to deliver modern weapon platforms efficiently to the military, are hell bent on lowering the image of the Indian Army, which in turn is demoralizing the troops and acts as a disincentive for the young to serve their country. This amounts to grave anti-India activity, weakening the sinews of the nation. With the political leadership clearly stating that there was no coup attempt, babu Shashi Kant Sharma and others need to be investigated and taken to task for creating a false alarm.

Imperative that we visit the contours of the military coup executed by General Musharraf in Pakistan on 12 October 1999. All militaries particularly the Army are highly trained to conduct ruthless operations against their adversary. Their speed and precision of movement with the weapons they wield make them unstoppable. When the military coup took place in Pakistan, the Army under directions from Lt Gen Usmani, seized the control tower to enable Musharraf to land, troops took over control of state-run television, put the prime minister Nawaz Sharif under house arrest by encircling his house, took over control of international airports and snapped the international phone lines. Thus, neutralizing the political leadership at one go and ensuring that the bureaucracy towed the line of the Pakistan Army. When armies move, whether in operational area or in civil areas, they have studied all aspects of the situation, readied adequate fire power to neutralize all dissent, and thought out the end game well in advance. All military coups will have similar patterns, no matter which army conducts it.

Compare the above with the picture that former Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma painted, and falsely implicated that the political leadership at the highest level was worried. If the Indian Army was executing a ‘coup’, then Shashi Kant Sharmas’ of this world would not have the luxury of inviting the former DGMO Lt Gen AK Chaudhary late at night to find out,ै’ (tell me what is happening?), because in a coup mode the Indian Army would be calling the shots and not the bureaucrat. The former Army Chief Gen VK Singh will not be going to the Supreme Court for redressal of the age controversy. Instead he would be at the helm of affairs and conducting the operations personally to takeover New Delhi.

The movement of a mechanized infantry unit from Hisar and a paratroopers detachment from Agra late at night on 16 January 2012 were normal and unrelated to each other troops on routine exercise. In a huge army, there is continuous training of local units, which are neither projected to the DGMO or to the Army HQs. At the same time, there are always sufficient well trained and armed troops available in the capital to take over a small city like New Delhi. It really does not require extra troops from outside. In fact, when a new Army Chief takes over, his battle hardened infantry battalion or one of the battalions from his regiment serve in Delhi as a personal honour – a battle hardened infantry battalion by itself is a very lethal force that can create mayhem. In addition, since this picture was painted by babu Sharma on 16 January 2012, a huge contingent of Indian Army had already moved into New Delhi for the 26 January parade. Hence, no extra troops were required in any case.

Therefore, this was a false alarm purposely created to malign the Indian Army as the Army Chief and the Ministry of Defence were at logger heads due to demand of General VK Singh to rectify incorrect entry of his date of birth. Further if the coup was actually taking place, the former Defence Secretary would not have had the luxury of leaking the information to a newspaper to create panic – he would have been effectively neutralized well in time because this is how a professional army executes its tasks. Indian Army despite all shortages created by politicians and bureaucrats in young human resources and vast equipment shortages, remains extraordinary professional in its approach of securing Indian borders but it is not in the business of military coups!

Otherwise also, military coup is not possible in India. India being a federal structure all state capitals will also simultaneously required to be brought under the Indian Army’s control, unlike Pakistan where merely Islamabad has to be taken over. This simply is impossible.

The continuous neglect of the Indian Army and insulting behavior of the civil administration towards the military is therefore a matter of shame. It is time that the Army Chief asserts his dignity to restore the honour of this great army by demanding from the Prime Minister to institute an inquiry into former defence secretary’s obnoxious behavior, the false alarm created and the insults heaped and thereby taking to task the guilty. This alone will help in calming down the rising frustrations and anger within rank and file of the Indian military.

By Bharat Verma

(The writer is Editor, Indian Defence Review)

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