General Bikram Singh took over the reins of the Indian Army from his predecessor VK Singh yesterday and got his first taste of being on the front lines against the media.
Making a short statement, the General said he was ‘deeply honoured’ to be appointed as the head of the Army, and vowed that the army would continue with its tradition of being secular and apolitical, and fulfill all of its constitutional obligations. Shortly after, he got his first taste of dealing with the media in his new capacity.
Reporters bombarded him to with questions relating to bribery and corruption in the army, his views on General VK Singh, civil – military relations and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act.
In relation to cases of bribery and corruption that had come to light, the General said that any offenders would be “dealt with by the rule book and nothing would be brushed under the carpet”.
He refused to comment on his ‘worthy predecessor’ and said that in relation to AFSPA, it was up to the government to decide how to act, given the fact that the army had already expressed its own opinion on the matter to the government.
Referring to civil-military relations, General Singh said that as far as he knew, there was no problem and said that there were intelligent people on both sides who would be able to resolve any differences of opinion in as amicable a manner as possible.
After a few minutes however, the new Army chief ended the barrage of questions by pleading with reporters to let him have at least a month on the job before he answered any more.