Coup not possible in India, says ex-Army chief

No coup can take place in India, asserts former Army chief Gen V K Singh, who faced allegations of planning a military takeover last year when he was locked in a major row with the government on his age issue.

He made this assertion for the first time since being accused of mobilising two units — one from Hisar in Haryana and another from Agra in Uttar Pradesh — towards Delhi in January last year, which was seen as a coup attempt.

“No. A big No. No in font 100 and in capitals…This kind of a thing is not done,” Singh told an Indian news agency in an interview when asked if a coup can take place in India.

On the allegation of a coup attempt, the then Army chief rubbished a suggestion that two units of the Army could topple the government.

Describing such reports as a “farce”, he said, “They were to damage my credibility. It also damaged the image of the Army…The whole aim was to malign a person but you are actually trying to destroy an institution. How can that be permitted.”

He went on to add, “It has fanned stupid phobias people have been living with. It has tarnished the image of the Army.”

Over a month before Singh retired in May 2012, a news story had suggested that an armoured unit from Hisar and a para brigade unit from Agra had moved towards the capital during the intervening night of January 15 and 16, creating fear in the government circles he was planning a coup.

Incidentally, on January 16, he had moved the Supreme Court against the government’s decision to treat May 10, 1950 as his date of birth and not May 10, 1951 as claimed by him.

The dispute occurred because of his official records showing two sets of dates.

He had petitioned the government twice over the issue but both the times, his pleas were rejected.

If 1951 was treated as his year of birth, he would have got an extension of 10 months beyond May 31, last year, when he actually retired.