Jaswant attacks govt on Army Chief issue



New Delhi: Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh on Tuesday accused the government of handling the sensitive issue of Army Chief Gen VK Singh's age in an "insensitive" matter saying the Prime Minister or the Defence Minister could have sorted it out with him.

He felt the army chief need not not resign. "I am amazed at his (Defence Minister AK Antony's) incompetence and sheer folly of treating such a sensitive matter in an insensitive manner," he said to a news agency.

Replying to questions on the army chief approaching the Supreme Court seeking correction of his date of birth on the army records, the former Defence Minister said Gen Singh was not not seeking extension of service for the prize of office but only rectification of records.

"Could the Defence Minister or the Prime Minister not not stopped or asked the army chief .....walked to his office and sort out this elementary matter of sorting government records," he said.

Asked if Gen Singh should resign now now that he has approached the court, Jaswant Singh said "why should he. Is that what bureaucracy wants him to do?"

Maintaining that the civilian government's approach to the army chief's age issue as "extremely distasteful", he said the army cannot be treated in this fashion as there was such a disconnect between the civilian government and the military.

Jaswant Singh said just because the army chief sought correction of the "wrong" record the government cannot treat it as "mutinous behaviour".

He said he was not not supporting the army chief as an individual but as an institution. "I am supporting the institution of Chief of Army Staff, not not as a person. Don't blunt the sword arm of the country," he said.

PTI