Thursday 17 October 2019, 03:46 AM
Indian Army chief gets May 31 retirement notice; Israel trip nixed
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 2/28/2012 12:00:00 AM
Indian Army chief gets May 31 retirement notice; Israel trip nixed

New Delhi : The government Tuesday informed army chief General V.K. Singh that he will retire May 31, bringing the curtains down on a two-year row over his birth date, even as it also nixed his official visit to Israel, India''s second largest supplier of military hardware.

Gen Singh, who was till a fortnight ago engaged in a bitter legal battle over his birth date, was issued the Retirement Warning Letter (RWL) by the Military Secretary''s branch, making it clear that he will superannuate May 31, based on based on May 10, 1950 as his date of birth, government sources said here.

The order has effectively ended a controversy that lasted for nearly 23 months of Gen. Singh''s 26-month tenure at the helm of the world''s second largest standing army of 1.13-million personnel.

The stage has also been set for the selection of Gen. Singh''s successor from a panel of three senior-most officers - Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Bikram Singh, Army Vice Chief Lieutenant General Sri Krishna Singh and Northern Army Commander Lieutenant General K.T. Parnaik.

The RWL, which is usually issued about 10 months ahead of retirement, was delayed in Gen. Singh''s, as he had gone to court seeking that official records indicate May 10, 1951 as his birth date. If this had been accepted, he would have got an additional 10 months in service and would have retired in March 2013.

Gen. Singh withdrew his petition Feb 10 after the government took back its Dec. 30, 2011 order rejecting the statutory complaint filed by him. This paved the way for the RWL to be issued. Meanwhile, the government communicated to Gen.

Singh that his visit to Israel, planned for March 16-18, has been called off in view of the "restless" situation and "turbulence" prevailing in West Asia and the security fallout of the terror attack on an Israeli embassy staffer''s car in New Delhi Feb 13.

"Syria is restless and other things are happening in the region. Primarily because of what is happening in Syria, which is experiencing little turbulence. So I guess it is better.

I am sure they must be better informed about the situation," Minister of State for Defence M.M. Pallam Raju told reporters on the sidelines of the National Maritime Foundation conference in response to a query on the cancellation of the army chief''s Israel visit.

Asked about the delay in taking a decision on the visit, Raju said: "These things can happen anytime. We cannot predict. So it is better to be cautious." Officers in the army headquarters also spoke of the diplomatic row over the Israeli claim of Iran''s involvement in the Feb. 13 attack in the Indian capital, even as India has maintained that there is no evidence of Iranian role.

Gen. Singh''s visit to Israel was part of India''s continuing high-level bilateral visits. Israel is a major Indian partner in defence research and development projects, which include surface-to-air missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Israel is India''s second largest defence supplier after Russia, garnering business worth over $10 billion since 1999, when India fought the Kargil war with Pakistan. Gen. Singh had visited Britain in the middle of February - and that could be his last foreign trip before retirement.

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Retirement notice issued to Indian Army chief

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