Mumbai: Former Army chief General V K Singh has dismissed the story of an alleged coup attempt by Indian army in January 2012 as the product of a "very fertile brain" and said it was at "somebody's behest".
"That (coup bid) story was at the behest of somebody," he said. "A routine movement which is meant to test certain units for their efficiency for certain tasks, if that gets construed (as coup), then God help us," he said.
The former Army chief was speaking at the launch of his autobiography, "Courage and Conviction", at the 'Literature Live' literary festival here last evening. Asked if it was necessary to have live missiles as part of the movement, Singh replied, "Obviously. You move with the complete ammunition. You don't take duds with you. How will you know the timing taken to draw those missiles. How will you get the lessons," he said. "This was a story which came out from a very "fertile" brain," he said.
"When you mobilise, then you mobilise with everything," Singh added. To a query on the "phobia" about the armed forces in government, the retired Army chief said, "This phobia or this paranoid feeling... I have talked about it in the book. There is this feeling that was there in the 50s and 60s, and that, over a period of time, has been utilised by various other groups, to keep the armed forces slightly away."
"They feel that the armed forces get people who only think of the country. That's the difference. You and me have always thought that the nation comes first, always and every time. "We don't talk of our pockets, we don't think of our pockets. We think of our family only after we think of the nation. Which is not so in the other fields or professions. And that is why you find that this paranoia is there," he said.
On Operation Blue Star, the former Army chief said, "When you bypass the chain of command there will be consequences. We would not have suffered 1984 if Indira Gandhi had not bypassed the Army's chain of command". On blaming earlier Army chief, General (retd) J J Singh, for planning a "line of succession" that required him to retire on a particular day so that he would be succeeded by General Bikram Singh, V K Singh said, "There was never a line of succession that I would have put down.
"Army never follows a line of succession. And people who talk of a line of succession are talking wrong. We have our own methodologies. "There is no line of succession. This is not a monarchy where you say somebody will take over and then somebody will take over," he said.
On sharing dais with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, Singh said, "If you share the stage with anybody, it doesn't make you anything. I am sharing the stage with you, I am not going to become a literary critic. It was an ex-servicemen's rally," he said referring to the rally which was held in Rewari in September. "Courage and Conviction" covers major developments from Singh's childhood to his retirement as Chief of Army Staff, including his run-ins with authority in school or later defending his actions when they led to a difference of opinion with politicians....