US award for Army Chief: Defence Ministry not happy
New Delhi: The acceptance of a US military award by Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has not gone down well with the Defence Ministry which has sent a poser to him asking why he received it without government clearance.
The Army Chief was conferred with the `Legion of Merit`, the sixth highest American military honour, during his visit to the US from December 2 to 5.
The Defence Ministry has claimed that it came to know about it only through media reports after the conferment as it was not part of Gen Singh`s itinerary provided prior to the visit, sources said.
Unhappy over it, the Defence Ministry has sought to know from the Army Chief why he accepted the award without clearance from the government, the sources.
The Defence Ministry has argued that Services Chiefs have to have clearance from the government to receive foreign honours.
When contacted for a reaction, Army Headquarters here said they were not aware of the issue.
By receiving the honour, Gen Bikram Singh joined the ranks of legendary figures of the Indian Army including Field Marshal KM Kariappa.
The award is given to Services chiefs and officers for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.
Gen Singh is the fifth Indian armed forces officer to have received the award after Field Marshal Kariappa and first Indian Chief of Army Staff Gen Rajendra Singhji.
The `Legion of Merit` decoration is issued both to United States military personnel and to military and political figures of foreign governments.
The Army Chief visited the US at a time when the force is planning to procure M-777 ultra light howitzers and Javelin anti-tank missiles from there and the issues are expected to have come up for discussion there.
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