Now that the heat and dust which rose in the fracas involving General V.K.Singh is settling down it is important to draw valuable lessons from the entire affair. Let’s face the issue. General Singh is undoubtedly a clean and incorruptible man and a soldier’s soldier. Even his worst detractors cannot deny this. But do these qualities give the General a kind of a veto power to decide who all are corrupt. Let’s be clear- that being competent in your profession and being incorruptible is just the first and very basic requirement of the job and the office he sits in. Why are we assuming that these are outstanding qualities? This is the least we would expect of any person holding that important office. Far more important is the responsibility he carries towards managing the fourth largest army in the world as well as his interaction with his peers and political authorities.
But what do we find? The man has become a permanent fixture on prime time news for all the wrong reasons.
There are two important facts we should not forget in this entire affair.
The army to some extent is not only a fighting entity but also a bureaucracy. And any good bureaucracy should work, quietly, efficiently, behind the scenes. It is not an exaggeration that bureaucrats should be ‘faceless.’ They are not pop stars with a sensational shelf life.
The second point is most important. Especially after the way the General of late has been behaving, is he in any way still ‘managing’ the nuclear command and control apparatus in the country, especially the deployment of the lethal Prithvi missiles. Can we be absolutely certain that the General would not let emotions take a hold over him in a crisis, especially a nuclear crisis? These matters have to be taken very seriously, especially since the General’s track record in maintaining objectivity in the recent past, has at best been sketchy.