Army Chief age row: PM meets Antony

Against the backdrop of the age controversy of Army Chief V K Singh, PM Manmohan Singh held a half hour meeting with Defence Minister A K Antony.

New Delhi: Against the backdrop of the age
controversy of Army Chief V K Singh, Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh on Wednesday held a half hour one-to-one meeting with Defence
Minister A K Antony here.

The Prime Minister and Antony held discussions after
the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting got over,
fuelling speculation that the row over the Army Chief`s age
and his retirement came up for discussion. The meeting lasted
for 30 minutes.

After the CCS ended, Home Minister P Chidambaram was
the first to leave, followed by Finance Minister Pranab
Mukherjee after a few minutes. PM and the Defence Minister
stayed back to hold this separate meeting.

Media reports have claimed that the Army Chief has
threatened to go to court if the Defence Ministry treats May
10, 1950 as his year of birth instead of his contention that
he was born on May 10, 1951.

Defence Ministry sources say the age row is settled
and the Army Chief will retire in May this year. The exercise
to choose General VK Singh`s successor is also said to be
underway with Lieutenant General Bikram Singh being the front

The Cabinet Committee on Security cleared a proposal
to procure over 450 air to air missiles from French firm MBDA.
The missiles will be equipped on Mirage 2000 aircraft,
according to defence ministry sources.