Controversy Erupts on Letter of Military Veterans Written to Supreme Cdr of Defence Forces to Stop Politicisation of Military

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A controversy has erupted over a letter supposed to be written by Military Veterans to President and Supreme Commander of Defence Forces by 150 plus military veterans including ex military chiefs to stop politicisation of military. Ex Army Chief Gen SF Rodrigues, PVSM,VSM, Ex Air Force Chief; Air Chief Marshal NC Suri, PVSM, AVSM, VM, ADC and some more, have denied signing any such letter. The copy of alleged letter is reproduced as under:

Honourable Shri Ram Nath Kovind
President of India and Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces
Rashtrapati Bhavan,
New Delhi

Dear Shri Ram Nath Kovind Ji,

We, the signatories, are Armed Forces Veterans who have served in the defence of our nation in various appointments, in peacetime and in operational and war zones over the past several decades.

The apolitical and secular nature of India’s Armed Forces has been an article of faith for every soldier, sailor and airman. India’s Armed Forces have loyally upheld the democratic principle of civil control over the military. Their military professionalism on and off the field, combined with the devotion to duty in protecting India’s territorial sovereignty and national integrity, remains widely appreciated.

The soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Armed Forces owe allegiance to the Constitution of India, of which you, as President of the Indian Union, are the legal custodian. It is for this reason that the President is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and we serve and execute orders at the will of the President and as decided from time to time by the Executive – that is, the Government of the day.

You would be aware that those in active service (men and women of all ranks in the Army, Navy and Air Force) cannot speak out, even on matters which might affect their interests adversely, since they are subject to military law and are governed by the parliamentary Acts of their respective Service.

However, we Veterans being in continuous touch with our own military fraternity, as also with serving personnel at all levels, have a ‘finger on the pulse’, so to speak. And it is for this reason that we write to bring to your attention, as the Supreme Commander of India’s Armed Forces, some concerns which have caused considerable alarm and disquiet among both the serving and the retired personnel of our Forces.

We refer, Sir, to the unusual and completely unacceptable practice of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes, and even going so far as to claim the Armed Forces to be “Modi ji ki Sena”. This is in addition to media pictures of election platforms and campaigns in which party workers are seen wearing military uniforms; and posters and images with pictures of soldiers and especially of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, displayed.

We do appreciate that complaints by some senior retired personnel, including a written submission from a former Chief of the Naval Staff to the Chief Election Commissioner, have elicited a prompt response. Indeed a notification has been issued asking for an explanation from those responsible for these statements, including from the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. However we regret to state that these do not appear to have resulted in any substantive change of behaviour and practice on the ground.

With the General Elections round the corner, and given the prevailing environment where political parties and candidates seem to be acting in total disregard of the declaration of the ‘model code of conduct’, we fear that such incidents may only increase as polling day draws near.

We believe that you will surely agree that any such misuse of the Armed Forces established under the Constitution of India and under the supreme command of the President of India, would impinge adversely on the morale and fighting efficiency of the serving man or woman in uniform. It could therefore directly affect national security and national integrity.
We therefore appeal to you to ensure that the secular and a-political character of our Armed Forces is preserved.
We hereby respectfully urge you to take all necessary steps to urgently direct all political parties that they must forthwith desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols, and any actions by military formations or personnel, for political purposes or to further their political agendas.

This communication is copied to the Chief Election Commissioner of the Election Commission of India for information and action.

We, the undersigned, endorse the above.

Yours Faithfully

1 Gen SF Rodrigues, PVSM,VSM
2 Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury, PVSM,ADC
3 Gen Deepak Kapoor, PVSM, AVSM,SM,VSM,ADC
4 Adm Laxminarayan Ramdas, PVSM,AVSM,VrC, VSM,ADC
5 Adm Vishnu Bhagwat,PVSM,AVSM
6 Adm Arun Prakash, PVSM,AVSM,VrC,VSM,ADC
7 Adm Sureesh Mehta, PVSM,AVSM
8 Air Chief Marshal NC Suri,PVSM,AVSM,VM,ADC
9 Lt Gen Sanjeev Anand
10 Lt General KS Rao, PVSM, SC, SM, Arjuna Awardee
11 Lt General Mohan Ramdas
12 Lt General YN Sharma
13 Lt General Vinay Shankar
14 Lt General Prakash Gokarn
15 Lt General Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
16 Lt General MA Gurbaxani, PVSM, AVSM
17 Lt General RK Nanavatty, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM
18 Lt General R K Gaur, PVSM
19 Lt General CA Barretto, PVSM
20 Lt General ML Naidu, PVSM, AVSM, YSM
21 Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh
22 Vice Admiral DB Kapila, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
23 Vice Admiral A Britto, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
24 Air Marshal Vir Narain, PVSM
25 Maj Gen A K Shukla
26 Maj Gen PC Panjikar, VSM
27 Maj General KM Bhimaya
28 Maj General Jose Manavalan, AVSM
29 Maj General Shiv Dev Singh
30 Maj General Mohan Singh
31 Maj General Harsha Kakar
32 Maj General Rajendra Prakash, VSM
33 Maj General GH Israni
34 Maj General Anil Sawhny, AVSM
35 Maj General IJS Dhillon
36 Maj General Kshitin Pandya, AVSM
37 Maj General TK Kaul, PVSM, AVSM, VSM
38 Maj General ML Malik
39 Maj General SG Pitre
40 Maj General SG Vombatkere, VSM
41 Rear Admiral Shankar Mathur
42 Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai, NM
43 Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak
44 Brig A. A Ramchandani
45 Brig UPS Pathania
46 Brig Vinod Raizada
47 Brigadier VHM Prasad
48 Commodore C Jayaraj
49 Commodore Rajan Mathew, VSM
50 Commodore R Rahmathullah
51 Commodore G Kailath, AVSM, NM, VSM
52 Commodore Dinabandhu Jena
53 Commodore Jal Postwalla
54 Commodore PC Gulati, NM
55 Commodore MS Chahal
56 Air Cmde Sanjay Sharma’
57 Colonel Bharat Haladi
58 Col Sanjeev Choudhary
59 Col Krishna Prasad N G
60 Col Mukesh Trehan
61 Col RP Suhag
62 Col Pankaj Fotedar, VSM
63 Col Vivek Mathur
64 Col Arun Hariharan
65 Col K N Singh
66 Col DM Sharma
67 Col Shantanu Majumdar,
68 Col Gurpinder Singh
69 Col Ramnik Khanna
70 Col Abhay Prasad
71 Col Abhi Chatterjee,
72 Col Manmohan Singh
73 Col. Rajiv Kanwar
74 Col Bharat Kumar
75 Col Jayadev P I
76 Col. Sujit Dutta
77 Col. Lal Kesavan
78 Col. Melwyn D’Souza
79 Col Sanjay Dilwaria
80 Col. K S Kamboj
81 Col Shashi Thoomas Kilo
82 Col K Kataria, SM
83 Col MK Keshwar
84 Col Maniish D Kachhy
85 Col. Aparjeet Nakai
86 Col CMS Babu
87 Col RS Singh
88 Capt (IN) HPS Sodhi
89 Capt (IN) Rakesh Kumar Prabhakar
90 Captain (IN) S Prabhala, VSM
91 Capt(IN) Sandeep Kapoor
92 Group Captain Ashutosh Srivastav (Retd)
93 Gp Capt Rajinder Abrol
94 Gp Capt D. V. Shukla,
95 Gp Capt Philips Jacob, VM
96 Gp Capt Satvinder Singh
97 Gp Capt Deepak Mundade
98 Gp Capt MS Sadanand
99 Lt col Arvind Kumar Singh,
100 Lt Col MS Kanwal, VSM
101 LtCol Sajan Moideen,
102 Lt Col Muruganantham
103 Lt Col Ved Prakash Sharma
104 LtCol R Pankaj
105 Lt Col Shantanu Rishi
106 Lt Col Sanjeev Kumar Gupta
107 Lt Col SPS Panwar
108 Lt Col Neeraj Sharma
109 Lt Col Shantnu Rishi
110 Lt. Col. Gagan Khanna, DE
111 Lt Col Satish Chari
112 Lt. Col Akash Sachan
113 Lt. Col PP Singh
114 Lt Col Sandeep Chandorkar
115 Lt. Col. SS Nath
116 Lt Col JS Patil
117 Lt Col Amit P Mathur
118 Lt Col Jagjit Singh Judge
119 Lt Col RP Shankar
120 Lt Col NM Saksena
121 Lt Col Raghawendra Singh
122 Lt Col Shamsher Manhas
123 Lt Col DN Yadav
124 Lt Col Janak Raj Vatsa
125 Lt Col Rakesh Mehrotra
126 Lt Col Rajeev Rattan Kotwal
127 Cdr MCV Jose
128 Cdr KC Mahesh Giri
129 Cdr Sam T Samuel
130 Cdr Joji Tom Mundakel
131 Cdr S Manrai
132 Cdr P Pattanath
133 Cdr HS Dabas
134 Cdr Soumya Datta
135 Cdr SA Rawool
136 Cdr Sandeep Kumar
137 Cdr RK Srivastava
138 Cdr Shailesh Jain
139 Cdr Sati Taneja
140 Wg Cdr Gopal Taneja
141 Wg Cdr Sanjay Bishnoi
142 Wg Cdr Nilesh Gandhi
143 Wg Cdr Rajiv Gupta
144 Wg Cdr Sudhir Kumar Virulkar
145 Wg Cdr SK Chopra
146 Wg Cdr Sanjay Nijai
147 Wg Cdr Kuldeep Mathur
148 Wg Cdr SK Nair
149 Wg Cdr Prashant Karde
150 Maj K J Singh
151 Maj P Sirur
152 Maj Priyadarshi Chowdhury, SC
153 Sqn Ldr Narendra Prasad Uniyal
154 Capt Sandeep Shekhawat
155 S/ Lt. (IN) RC Jain
156 Lt HS Ahlawat

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