Army Chief`s loyalty should not be questioned: BJP

In the backdrop of the controversy over troop movement towards Delhi in January, BJP batted for Army Chief VK Singh.

New Delhi: In the backdrop of the controversy
over troop movement towards the national capital in January,
BJP on Thursday batted for Army Chief VK Singh, saying his loyalty
should not be questioned even as it demanded the government
remove the trust deficit with the army and improve defence

"There cannot be any room for speculation on our armed
forces. There cannot be any occasion to question the army and
the army chief`s loyalty. We cannot have reports questioning
their loyalty," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

She was referring to the controversy over a newspaper
report yesterday on movement of two military units to Delhi on
the night of January 16. While the army has described it as a
routine exercise, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had termed the
report as "alarmist" and Defence Minister AK Antony dismissed
it as "baseless".

Sitharaman insisted government should take all steps to
bring more transparency in defence deals as well as do away
with the allegedly slow pace of modernisation of the forces
and procurement of weapons and equipment.

"BJP wishes to state in this context that steps should be
taken to bring greater transparency and keeping this process
above board. We cannot afford middlemen working on these
deals," she said.

The party also demanded that the government take
immediate measures to redress the trust deficit with the Army.

"The civilian leadership should respect the army and also
bring back the confidence," Sitharaman said.

The party also said there cannot be any compromise on
preparedness of the armed forces due to the prevalent "policy
paralysis" in the government.

"The morale of the army should be kept high. As for
their resources, they should be adequately endowed. The
government should show due statesmanship and keep preparedness
at its best," Sitharaman said.