Soldiers don’t matter in this country, Former Army Chief Gen VK Singh laments

The full Video here:×7/ex-army-chief-vk-singh-on-whether-he-ll-run-against-sonia-gandhi/289063?curl=1378178236

Nitin: It’s been more than a year that General V.K. Singh retired as India’s Army Chief.  But controversies don’t seem to leave him. He is at the centre of one controversy or the other. He is subjected to intense scrutiny for his pronouncements, his conduct, his associations. Thank You General for your time.
We have spoken earlier when you were in service. But after getting out of service, after retirement as Army Chief, you still continue to be in intense focus of public scrutiny. What is it that makes you a controversial figure in  many people’s eyes?
V.K. Singh :  I really don’t know if there is any controversy.  But yes….I think some people deliberately want to create controversy. Others probably haven’t seen people working on social forums. So they are intrigued and they think what actually is happening. I don’t think there is any controversy. I decided that for 42 years I have taken from the society and this is give back time . So I have perceived lot of things because 98 per cent of the army comes from the rural background. I picked up the causes of the farmers and it proved to be very fruitful.  I have been talking to the youth. They are the future. The more motivated they are the better for the country. I have been trying to get the ex servicemen together  because I think we are a forgotten community. Unfortunately in the great nation of ours, soldiers don’t matter. 
Nitin: That’s an important point. Normally soldiers have tended to or even the generals who have retired or even admirals or Air Marshals have tended to fade away and have gone into their cocoon. You are perhaps one of the rare people of late who have still tried to do public service or at least try to give back as you said to the society.  What are you doing  in terms of ex servicemen welfare  or getting the ex servicemen together?
V.K.Singh : See, my aim was to get  ex servicemen under one umbrella. So last July we formed a organisation called Proud Citizen Soldier Front.  or Swabhimani Samaj Sainik Manch. The aim was  that we   come together under one umbrella… everybody under it, talk of macro issues.
Nitin: So some might then accuse you of trying to capitalise on your standing, your popularity for political end.  Is that something you are looking at, career in politics?
V.K. Singh: Nitin, they have accused me of all kinds of things. I am actually not bothered about that. Ok…Small minds only think of small things. You know why the soldier community is not being catered or cared for ? They are not a vote bank.
Nitin: Are you trying to convert them into a vote Bank?
V.K.Singh: No, But I am trying to  get them to speak in a voice that people listen. After all you just go back to the days when the postal ballot system was there. Whether it reached or not nobody was concerned! In fact local politicians were very happy that some postman goes and dumps it to the nearest village or put outside the village or into a well. So I think the time has come  that people realise that here is a lot of 60,000 people, well trained, well disciplined, well motivated who must be used. And nobody seems to be wanting to do it because there is an apathy there is a general feeling …Ok..they have …. I mean  like that the great minister of Bihar…. I mean I am horrified. It is high time that the veterans voice is heard. If they become a vote-bank so be it. How does it make a difference? 
Nitin: Correct…
V.K.Singh: I mean you have got a jhuggi jhopri vote bank…Why can’t the ex servicemen vote bank be there?
Nitin: Sure 
V.K. Singh: I mean why should it scare people? 
Nitin: It does scare people but also what scares people is unpredictable nature of your trajectory post retirement in the sense that you went to Anna Hazare, you  associated yourself with him….you are still with him….What are the compulsions or  let me say what is the vision you have in terms of associating yourself with Anna Hazare?
V.K.Singh: You know the unpredictability is only in the mind. And in any case….one of the things which you win the war is the unpredictability… 
Nitin: You are applying those principles here…..
V.K.Singh:  No, no nothing like that. The thing is that I picked up the farmers causes because most of our soldiers come from that background. And then I decided that Anna who had been abandoned by lot of people and who is a genuine person needs to be taken up all over  again so that he can bring  about a good change in the society. So I associated with him. We made a thing called Janatantra morcha and if you go to our website, there are 25 do-ables that we have put out there which will change the face of this country. 
Nitin: Is fighting elections one of the do-ables?
VK Singh: No…election is nowhere in our mind. With Anna all  that we are trying to do is create an awareness ….create an awakening…that friends, time has come to  wake up. 
Nitin: That brings me you know one or two causes  that you took up immediately after retirement….One was the nuclear power station in Haryana in which you are trying to oppose and you said “we will gherao the Parliament” which was seen as something which is not in form in the sense that a former chief of the army trying to undermine the temple of the democracy …something of that kind .. What do you have to say about that because you have never spoken about it? 
V.K.Singh: See, I think people twist everything.  Gherao does not mean that you are going to stand holding hands and encircle the Parliament…It just means that  you are going to protest at the Parliament. 
Nitin: Do you think if you look back at the last 2 years or 3 years as Army chief and now as a former Army chief for last one year have you been misunderstood in the sense that look at the defamation case against you for instance…which has been filed against you in a lower court which goes on and on and now we keep hearing various remarks from various people that you overstepped your brief or your authority as Army Chief in issuing that press release. What made you first of all issue that press release  and where does the matter stand now?
V.K.Singh: A thing comes on the press  that Army is bugging. Army has got equipment to carry out surveillance and they are listening to all the conversations of political system and the Raksha Mantri.. There cannot be anything more preposterous than that. 
Nitin: Why did it come up?
V.K.Singh: I am telling you… there was a person involved The press release was issued after checking things…We checked up as to who was behind it and we identified the person. Misunderstandings are created deliberately by people who hobnob with certain journalists who seem to be having an axe to grind and there are some of them very prominent ones. Why the axe is there to grind whether it is because they have been bought  over or something else I really can’t comment on. But it appears quite obvious.  In this particular instance there was you know banner headlines ‘Army is spying, Army is bugging, Army is doing A, B and C’.  It was bringing down the image of the army. Army of this nation does not do such things and to ensure that the image of the army is protected we issued a clarification after checking details.  If somebody thinks it is defaming  I think he is out of his mind. ….totally out of his mind.
Nitin: But, is there such a equipment available with the Army which was misused?
V.K.Singh: That is what the whole funny thing about it.  This equipment is with an agency called Defence Intelligence Agency which is under IDS(Integrated Defence Staff) and not under the  Army and the person who was involved in it has been part of DIA.  So he knew about this equipment and that is why he put out things this way. So I think people who are…who went by this and splashing the….and look at the papers which splashed it…and you will find the answer which I have been trying to tell. 
Nitin: But there is also the other controversy or other allegation which keeps coming up in certain section of the media  about the so called Technical Support division which you seemed to have set up on your own initiative, no clearance, autonomous independent or even rogue ….some people have called it.  Misuse of money….Initially it was 18 crores…now it is 8 crores.. What is the truth behind the so called TSD?
V.K.Singh: See I have tried to clarify it once earlier.  But I find same reports keep coming up.  In fact this great paper called Indian express  had done the same report  with just a minor variation of figure by the same reporter couple of months back. He has brought it up again. Same thing… change in it.  Just a minor variation ….so much for the journalistic talent  that this paper has.  TSD was set up after lot of discussion on the operational requirement. Lets understand it. It is in sync with the operational directive issued by the Raksha Mantri of this country. 
Nitin: The same Raksha Mantri…
V.K.Singh: The same Raksha Mantri. I can’t you know verbatim tell you as to what the operational directive is but this was the requirement of the operational directive. The thinking on this started  with my predecessor. It was implemented when I came. Ok… It was called TSD for the want of a name which will give it a certain amount of anonymity. It has got nothing with  the technical work. It is all human intelligence. 
Nitin: It was supposed to be Ultra secret, low profiled…
V.K.Singh: not secret…
Nitin: Low profile perhaps….
V.K.Singh: Absolutely low profile and it was the part of the military intelligence, controlled by the military intelligence, not by the Chief of  Army Staff.  I mean some people have gone totally bonkers, out of their mind and it has been done deliberately. Because they couldn’t find anything  or somebody has fed them ….these great people that  I spoke of. So they said OK…lets blow it up. And it is all vested interests.  Let me also assure you one thing  if they had not tinkered with the organisation lot of things that are happening on our borders today would not have happened and that’s a guarantee I give. 
Nitin:  Please elaborate…you mean when you say on the border, was this agency designed to look at our adversaries or their weaknesses….something of that kind?
V.K.Singh: This agency was totally designed to look across the borders. It had nothing to do with the internal except if it found an external link which were doing things here. Except that and that too providing information of that to the required quarters. 
Nitin: But that is now been wound up. So do you think that our capabilities have been reduced?
V.K.Singh:  It has… If the Raksha Mantri has given you a directive and you are not following it and you are…you have gone into a cocoon  by seeing ghosts, then there is something wrong. 
Nitin: What about the charges of embezzlement and misuse of funds. How does one sort of reconcile with that?
V.K.Singh: Nitin, the unit is there…There is a  director general of military operations (intelligence) who gives them money. They deal with it. There is a procedure. I am quite sure you can find what is there. Now for a paper to say 8 crore is missing …Have they seen the log books? Have they gone through the details?  They haven’t.  No…I think lot of things that this paper has been doing  is totally wrong. 
Nitin: Lets move away from this paper…but generally  the feeling among lot of people and ex servicemen was that as a chief and also as the serving chief  and then now as the former chief  you have tended to speak  something which is not exactly in what is called in sync with the tradition and norms of the military leaders. Is that what you…..
V.K.Singh: Tradition and norms of the service tell you to speak the truth, be upright about it. Not hide facts  or take advantage of the system for the furtherance of your own rehabilitation later on. That is what the service norm is. Unfortunately people have forgotten this service norm. Had they all adhered to the service norm  we won’t have the problems that are afflicting our armed forces today. How many people stood up to say  look here, this type of equipment that you are getting us is bad. We are not going to take it. How many people did it? 
Nitin: That brings me to what you wrote to the defence minister that time and that letter came into the media. You were accused of leaking it. For your own advantage.  But be that as it may,what you said about shortage is, is something we must worry about?
V.K.Singh: We must. That is why that letter went to the Prime Minister. Normally all Chiefs do write periodically to the Raksha Mantri. Once in a while to the Prime Minister about the concern… ( interrupts)
Nitin: Also that again you know, going back to the DIA, and also the TSD as well as the snooping equipment. The DIA handled the so called equipment for bugging or whatever
V.K Singh: Not bugging, see they have got equipment which has got limited range 
Nitin: Right
V.K Singh: It is supposed to be deployed
Nitin: hmmm
V.K Singh: In areas which are… which allow them access to… listen to things across the border 
Nitin : Okay 
V.K Singh: Or into terrorist affected areas 
Nitin : So is the equipment which is there and you say it is with the DIA not the army
V.K Singh: Yes
Nitin: Was this brought up in any of the highest forums of the military chiefs or with Raksha Mantri, that you know this is not with us, we should have it or something of that kind or was it…
V.K Singh: No (interrupts) 
Nitin: ever..
V.K Singh: (interrupts)  No.. see what has happened is when the restructuring took place and the IDS was made that was the time DIA appointment came up and the assets that used to be under the army Sig Int …
Nitin: The Signal unit you mean, the Signal intelligence?
V.K Singh: Yes it was, it is the tri-service organisation 
Nitin: Right
V.K Singh: You have got air force, navy, army  all three combined, it used to be under the army. It went under DIA 
Nitin: Okay 
V.K Singh: So all these resources and assets went under DIA. This particular technical cell functioning from the adjunct of the NSA had pointed out that this gentlemen who was the DG of DIA had made wrong purchases, purchases in excess of permission given or without permission
Nitin: (interrupts) I see…
V.K Singh: It had come up, it had come up to the chiefs of staff committee but somebody glossed over it 
Nitin: Oh…That’s.. that’s a serious charge (interrupts)
V.K Singh: It is (interrupts)
Nitin: And..this happened when you were in service (interrupts)
V.K Singh: Yes 
Nitin: I see…It was covered up in the chiefs of the staff committee?
V.K Singh: It was.. (interrupts)
Nitin: Oh.. (interrupts) That’s very serious 
V.K Singh: It was covered up.
Nitin: hmm.. right. But now looking forward what are your plans for the organisation you have formed with Anna Hazare and how do you deal with the court cases, and  these allegations and these charges. Are you sometimes worried about the… you know the unnecessary attention that crop up because of these cases?
V.K Singh: No, I know that these cases have been put to harass me. I wouldn’t be surprise if somebody else also starts some other case, if this finishes somebody else will start. This is all designed to create a harassment but one has to be mentally strong to take it on, where is the problem (laughs)
Nitin: (interrupts)  what about the organisation with Anna Hazare, what is, what are your plans?
V.K Singh: (interrupts) Our organisation with Anna Hazare, Jantantra Morcha is doing well. Our jantantra yatra is evoked tremendous response across the country. We have got 60,000 volunteers who are willing to give one year of their life for this cause and that is to create that awareness in the country as to what true democracy implies. 
Nitin: Will Jantantra Morcha then look at individual candidates and sponsor them, or you know approve them .. Is that something you are looking at?
V.K Singh: (interrupts) Janatantra Morcha will support people’s candidates
Nitin: (laughs) but how will you decide on people’s candidate ?
V.K Singh: (interrupts) people will decide. 
Nitin: Okay…
V.K Singh: People will decide. All that we are saying is the system today requires good people. It is not my belief that all people in politics are bad , 80 per cent people are good.
It is only 20 per cent people who twist the system. With this 80 per cent people and the other people in the society if we can bring about a change , I think that change will be for the better.
Nitin: (smiles) Okay, one final question, there was this report I think… you were not in the country that time that you were going to stand for elections against Sonia Gandhi in Rai Bareli. Whats that all about?
V.K Singh: (interrupts) I think… I think it is somebody’s ripe imagination, putting out things and I believe India Today is one of them in this, which came out with this funny report
Nitin: (interrupts) No, I saw it in couple of other agencies also
V.K Singh: (interrupts) After that they start catching on  
N.G: Right..
V.K Singh: So… there’s nothing in it. 
Nitin: There’s no truth to it?
V.K Singh: No truth at all…because I don’t know who has started it…
Nitin: Okay
V.K Singh: And as part of Janatantra yatra I haven’t even visited Rai Bareli but think I should now!
Nitin: (interrupts) You should.. Okay but one more additional question although I said final question at that time… are you against the Congress? Because that’s the feeling in the ruling party, the ruling ministers, ruling party ministers keep saying that he’s now trying to get back at us because he, we didn’t give him what he thinks was justice?
V.K Singh: I am against nobody. I am for a better India, if people are not providing that leadership and that vision and working for better India, I am against them. They can be from any party.
Nitin: On that note general thank you very much for your time
V.K Singh: Thank you 
Nitin: Its always a pleasure