Report of troop movement “alarmist”, says PM
Terming as "alarmist" a media report that the Army moved two units towards Delhi in January without informing the government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said such reports "should not be taken at face value".
"These are alarmist reports. They should not be taken at face value," Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function to give away the Padmaawards at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.
Singh was asked to comment on a report in The Indian Express that the central intelligence agencies reported that on the night of January 16, an unexpected - and non-notified - movement by a key military unit from the mechanized infantry based in Hisar in the direction of the capital.
The Prime Minister said that the Ministry of Defense had already issued a clarification in this regard.
The reports said that another unit -- identified as a large element of the 50thPara Brigade based at Agra -- was also moving towards Delhi. According to the report, the Army had said that the exercise was to check effectiveness in fog.
Defense Minister AK Antony on Wednesday termed as "absolutely baseless" fears of any coup attempt by the armed forces and expressed confidence that they will not do anything to undermine democracy.
"Absolutely baseless. Army has already explained this. It is usual, natural activities. Nothing unusual. We are absolutely confident of the patriotism of the armed forces. Don't question their patriotism. They will not do anything to undermine Indian democracy," he told a press conference in New Delhi.
He was replying to a question about an 'Indian Express' report today that there was an unusual movement of two key army units towards Delhi without notifying government on the night of January 16-17, the day Army Chief Gen VK Singh moved the Supreme Court on the age issue.
The questioner told him that the report raised considerable alarm and fears of a coup and whether the government was afraid of such a possibility and what did it do. Would he rule out the possibility of a coup.
Antony said the armed forces personnel were "true patriots" and "don't question the patriotism of the soldiers who are dying in the frontiers of the country." "I am proud of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard," he said. He also urged the media not to lower the dignity of the armed forces on issues of national security.
- Asian Tribune -