VK Singh dismisses Tewari's 'troop movement' comments
Former Army chief General VK Singh dismissed claims by senior Congress leader Manish Tewari that the 2012 army troop movement toward Delhi had actually happened. He stated that "Manish Tewariji has nothing to do these days" and that Tewari's statements were misleading. Senior Congress leaders were unavailable for comment on the matter; however, the Congress spokesperson dismissed Tewari's statements as untrue.
What was the army troop movement controversy?
On 16 January 2012, an entire unit of the mechanized infantry, along with armored vehicles moved toward Delhi and stationed themselves near Najafgarh. At the same time, a section of the Agra based 50 Para Brigade also moved toward Delhi and stationed themselves near Palam. The move was seen as a possible coup; however, both units were eventually ordered to stop and move back.
What were the reactions to the incident?
The Manmohan Singh government raised an alert and informed the Defence Minister. Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma was asked to cut short his visit and return from Malaysia. Lt Gen. A K Choudhary, Director General Military Operations was called in to explain the movements. The government issued a terror alert asking police to check all vehicles, to slow down traffic movement toward the capital.
What did the army say about the movement?
Lt Gen. A K Choudhary, Director General Military Operations, stated that the mechanized infantry was moving to test their deployment in fog conditions. Had they moved westward or eastward, Pakistan or China would have been alarmed and hence they chose to move toward Delhi. The Para troopers were allegedly moving toward Hindon, where the C-130 aircraft were stationed for routine exercises.
Need to notify troop movements
Large troop movements toward any border region of the country needs to be notified to neighbouring countries during peace times, as the move can be construed as an act of war.
Tewari claims 2012 army troop movement was real
Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari, while speaking at a book release function in Delhi stated that the controversial movement of troops toward the capital in January 2012 was true. Tewari stated that as a member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, he was privy to the developments then. The government had then dismissed reports of a standoff between the Centre and the forces.
What were the reactions to Tewari's comments?
The Congress distanced itself from Tewari's comments saying, "We on behalf of Congress very clearly and categorically want to deny this report." BJP demanded a statement from former PM Manmohan Singh and former Defence Minister A K Antony on the issue. However, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar sided with Tewari, stating that the incident actually happened and it was "against the Constitution and democracy."