Military should be kept out of politics: Army chief

The military should be somehow kept out of politics. Of late, we have been seeing that politicisation of the military has been taking place. I think we operate in a very secular environment. We have a very vibrant democracy where the military should stay far away from the polity” Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat said at an event organised by the United Service Institution.

The army chief  said the norm in the good old days was never to discuss women and politics in the forces. However, these subjects were gradually inching their way into the discourse and this should be avoided. “Whenever (any) issue (of) linking any military establishment or military personnel where political entity comes in then...that is best avoided,” he said, declining to elaborate on the statement. The defence forces, he asserted, do best when they don’t meddle in the political affairs of the nation.

Responding to criticism over the Army being asked to build foot overbridges following the stampede at Mumbai’s Elphinstone railway station in October, Rawat said there is a charter of aid to civilians under which the armed forces help out in times of crises like floods and earthquakes.

On resentment in the armed forces over the defence ministry’s decision to cap the educational assistance to children of martyrs or those disabled in action at Rs 10,000 per month, he said Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lamba, who is also chairman of the chiefs of staff committee (CoSC), has taken it up with the ministry.