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The only people politicizing the Army are the signatories to the letter who attempted to influence elections by using their veteran status

Army Veterans attempting to influence political discourse by claiming to represent the entirety of the Armed Forces are extremely more dangerous than Artists with their Award Wapsi Charade.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

A controversial letter has been circulating on social media, allegedly written by Army veterans, where the signatories can be seen complaining about the ‘Politicization of the Armed Forces’. The letter, which ostensibly targets the Modi government for claiming credit for the Balakot strikes, is addressed to the President of India.

The Congress, for its part, did not hesitate to use the letter to attack the NDA government. Various ‘neutral’ journalists and political commentators, including a certain individual who has been gifted with the capability of deciphering the political orientation of individuals from pictures of their phallus, latched on to the letter to propagate an anti-Modi narrative.

However, it appears at least some names were included as signatories to the letter without the knowledge or consent of the concerned individuals. Air Marshall Suri, General SF Rodrigues and Former Army Vice Chief Lt General ML Naidu have gone on record to assert that they signed no such letter.

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According to Air Marshall Suri, the latter was written by one Major Chaudhary and it certainly does not have his consent. But it does have the consent of at least some of the signatories as they have gone on record to endorse the letter. Therefore, it is clear that the letter featured names it should not have and the author(s) invariably committed the sin they have accused Narendra Modi of, that is, politicizing the Army.

The circumstances in which the letter has been released calls for a serious investigation into the matter. It was a clear attempt to influence the results of the General Elections of the world’s largest democracy. It was also an attempt to pit the Armed Forces against the ruling political dispensation which could have devastating consequences for our country.

Air Marshall Suri was extremely prudent, as is expected from someone of his stature when he said that the Armed Forces support the elected government. Unlike Pakistan where the Army reigns supreme, in India, the Armed Forces is a part of the state machinery that is subservient to the Will of the People which is reflected by the democratically elected government.

Therefore, the accusation made in the letter that the current government is ‘politicizing the Army’ by claiming credit for the Balakot Airstrikes doesn’t have a sound basis in fact. The Armed Forces could not have carried out the strikes without the express consent of the political establishment. That sentiment has been echoed by Army Veterans who have claimed that they wished to conduct strikes against Pakistan post the Mumbai Terror Attack but were not given the green signal by the UPA government.

If we are to accept the logic presented by the signatories to the letter, the ones who have confirmed their endorsement of it, then it appears that Indians ought to blame the Armed Forces for not conducting military operations against Pakistan in response to terror attacks during the UPA regime. But of course, it would be foolish to do so as the Indian Armed Forces cannot pursue anything unless the political establishment gives them the permission to do so.

Similarly, the Armed Forces of the USA aren’t blamed for the destabilization of the Middle East. George Bush is blamed, so is Obama. It’s because the military operations are ordered by the political dispensation. And the political dispensation will have to live and die by the choices they make.

Really, the only people politicizing the Army are the signatories to the letter who have confirmed their endorsement. It appears to be fairly obvious that the letter was concocted by politically motivated Army Veterans to target Narendra Modi. There is nothing wrong with having a political opinion. It’s a democracy, everyone is entitled to it. However, what is not acceptable is dragging the entirety of the Armed Forces to pursue a political agenda.

The concerned signatories are welcome to express their political opinions and even campaign against the Modi government. However, they should do it in their own personal capacity. There are numerous Army Veterans in the BJP as well. It will be extremely dishonourable for them, too, to claim to speak for the Armed Forces in their entirety.

The main actor in this story, who tweets under the username @MajChowdhury and is presumably the Major Chaudhary Air Marshall Suri was referring to, has given life to extremely troubling rumours in the past as well which had the potential to threaten the integrity of the Armed Forces. Last month, he had spread fake news that the 21 Sikh Regiment has refused to fight for India using a fake screenshot of Republic TV coverage. His tweet was picked up by various ‘neutral’ journalists as well.

Thus, the principal actor in this story appears to be a repeat offender who has spread dangerous lies in the past which threatened the very integrity of the Armed Forces. Again, he has attempted to pit the Armed Forces against the elected political dispensation and in the process, has used the names of individuals without their consent to give his political agenda further legitimacy. Through unethical means, has he not only attempted to compromise the integrity of the Armed Forces, but he has also attempted to pit them against the democratically elected government. Most importantly, he has attempted to use the Armed Forces to sway the results of the General Elections. A thorough investigation is required in the matter.

Army Veterans attempting to influence political discourse by claiming to represent the entirety of the Armed Forces are extremely more dangerous than Artists with their Award Wapsi Charade. They have a lot more credibility than entertainers who are not particularly renowned for their exemplary intellect. They are doing a great disservice to their own brothers in Uniforms as there are a great many among them who wholeheartedly support the current political dispensation.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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