Army, Politics and Media
Apropos ‘Don’t Play Politics with India’s Army’ (ET, Apr 29), the rule of seniority does not always apply. The Generals who superseded were Kulwant Singh and S K Sinha. Air chief O P Mehra also superseded his senior, as did Admiral Bhagwat and Admiral Dhowan. Was the appointment of the army chief urgent? Even the new government would have had more than the normal 60 days to announce the new chief. Why didn’t the UPA government appoint a Cabinet secretary, the incumbent retires long before the army chief ?
Your statement that freshly retired generals should not join politics reveals an ignorance of history. Armies and generals existed long before democracy, parliament and politics. The most powerful democracy was created by a general, Washington, and there have been others: Andrew Jackson, William Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield and Eisenhower. The US Congress and most parliaments follow Robert’s Rules of Order: Gen Henry Martyn Robert was the engineer-in-chief of the US Army in the early 20th century. In the 20th century, democracies have survived where generals have been apolitical — like ours. Recollect how a former election commissioner joined the government. One wonders who are more dangerous: retired generals who join politics or editors who write on politics.