New Delhi, Feb 12: Army Chief General V K Singh is leaving for the UK tomorrow on a five-day official visit as scheduled that could ward off speculation about his resignation soon after he lost the legal battle on his age row in the Supreme Court.
In the first visit to the UK by an Indian Army Chief in four years, Gen Singh will be interacting with senior military and civilian hierarchy and discussing various defence related issues to strengthen existing defence ties with that country.
A release issued by the Army said Gen Singh's visit will last till Friday. The last visit by a COAS to the UK was in March 2008.
This will be the Army Chief's first visit abroad after the Supreme Court order on his age row on February 10, which said the government decision on his date of birth will apply to his service matters, forcing him to withdraw his petition.
Soon after the order, there was intense media speculation that the Army chief could quit soon even before his term is over as a number of names made rounds for the next COAS.
Gen Singh is due to retire on May 31.
The Army chief plans to return to the country by February 20, sources said today.
India shares good bilateral and strategic relations with the UK that are multifaceted and have been strengthened over the years, with regular exchange of visits at political, diplomatic and military levels.
A strong bilateral relationship is of priority of both countries, for economic, commercial, historical and foreign policy reasons and the large Indian diaspora in UK.
The visit by the COAS will add the necessary impetus to the existing defence relationship and broad-base it, into a mutually beneficial partnership, the release said.