New Delhi: Army chief General V K Singh is
undertaking a four-day tour to UK on February 14, a move that
could scotch media speculation about his resignation in the
near future after his loss in the legal battle over his age in
the Supreme Court.
A release issued by the Army said that the Chief of Army
Staff (COAS) will be interacting with senior military and
civilian hierarchy and discussing various defence related
issues to strengthen existing defence ties with UK during his
visit from February 14 to 17.
The last visit by a COAS to the UK was in Mar 2008.
This will be the Army Chief`s first visit abroad after
the Supreme Court order on his age row on February 10, which
said the government decision on his date of birth will apply
to his service matters, forcing him to withdraw his petition.
Soon after the order, there was intense media speculation
that the Army chief could quit soon even before his term is
over as a number of names made rounds for the next COAS.
The Army chief has plans to return to the country by
February 20, the sources said.
India shares good bilateral and strategic relations with
the UK that are multifaceted and have been strengthened over
the years, with regular exchange of visits at political,
diplomatic and military levels.
A strong bilateral relationship is of priority of both
countries, for economic, commercial, historical and foreign
policy reasons and the large Indian diaspora in UK.
The visit by the COAS will add the necessary impetus to
the existing defence relationship and broad-base it, into a
mutually beneficial partnership, the release said.
India`s relations in the field of defence with UK have
graduated to comprehensive defence cooperation, to include
courses, training for UN Peacekeeping Operations, joint
training including exercise in the fields of counter terrorism
including employment of Special Forces and exchange of
observers on each others? Army exercises.
During the visit, the COAS will be visiting Land Warfare
Centre in Salisbury plains and the Royal Military Academy at
Sandhurst, the press release said.
During his visit to Land Warfare Centre, Singh will
witness the training and preparation of UK Army Brigade
preparing for induction into Afghanistan.