New Delhi, Jan 12: Mired in a controversy over his age, Army Chief Gen V.K. Singh on Thursday said the issue was that of “integrity and honour” for him but decried the “spins” being given in the media to the matter.
He maintained that he had tackled the issue in the “organisational interest” and the matter was not affecting the image of the Army if considered in a straight forward manner.
“The issue has always been, I am emphasising it, the issue has always been that of integrity and honour,” Gen Singh said at a press conference in New Delhi when asked about the row over his date of birth.
Gen Singh had two sets of dates in the official records -- May 10, 1950 and May 10, 1951, leading to the controversy.
He has been contending that May 10, 1951 should be treated as his actual date of birth as it was mentioned in his matriculation certificate but the Defence Ministry has rejected it as May 10, 1950 is the date entered in his UPSC entrance form.
By the government decision, he will retire on May 31 this year.
“The issue is that of integrity and honour, right from the time the issue came to the forefront... This issue has always been tackled by me in organisational interest,” Gen Singh said, adding the matter had impact only on his family and not the Army.
To press his point, he said, “some of you (journalists) who are in possession of papers, letters, top secret files, are aware of what I have written from time to time (on the issue)”.
Decrying the “spins” given to the age issue in the media, the Army Chief told the press conference, “I will again allude to letters and papers available with you (journalists). I, for one, or each of you will find it reprehensible when awkward spins are alluded to this issue.”
He specifically referred to “one periodical”, saying it “has gone to an extent which, I think, no responsible journalist would have gone. Why they have gone, what their motives are, I leave it to you. I don't know.”
Gen Singh said he did not want to go into the issue of media reporting and speculation about “their motives”, contending that “they know it; I know what the motives are, who is behind it.”
Asked whether the media reporting was affecting the image of the Army, he replied, “It is a matter again on the spin you want to give. If you look at the facts straight and forward, I don't think it is affecting the image of army.”
On whether this issue was impacting his decisions related to the functioning of the Army, he said it may be having an effect on his family “within four walls” but not on his official work. “I work for the organisation. I do not work for myself.”