Is India Facing Any Coup Attempt by the Army?

The stories of a coup attempt in India are going meme all over the Internet, though the Indian government including the Prime Minister (PM) of India and the Defence Minister have dismissed such reports as baseless.

It all started with a front-page report today in India’s leading newspaper The Indian Express that hinted at an attempted army coup in January this year. The newspaper story has reported about non-notified movement of two army units with heavy weaponry toward New Delhi from the neighbouring Indian states.

And it has linked this report to the perpetuating row between the Indian government and the Army Chief General V. K. Singh. It said that the military moved toward the Indian capital without informing the concerned officials in the Ministry of Defence on the night of January 16, the day General V. K, Singh approached the Supreme Court to get his date of birth issue resolved.

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Although the Supreme Court ruling went against him, the Army Chief was trying to get his date of birth corrected in official records so that he could continue in service till 2013. Now, he will be retiring next month.

A ‘cold war’ between General V. K, Singh and the government has been going on in the open for the last few months. A few days ago, Singh even wrote a direct letter to the Indian PM, without going through the Defence Minister, informing him about the lack of preparedness in the Indian army.

This move also added fuel to the fire, as his confidential letter to the PM was leaked to the press while chattering classes are treating General’s move to write directly to the PM as a case of insubordination.

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All this has resulted in a sense of deteriorating relations between the Army Chief and the government, That’s why The Indian Express report has tried to hint at revolt without directly saying it was a coup attempt.

It’s believed that General Singh enjoys a very good reputation in the Indian army. But now he may not be quite happy as the government did not accept his requests for date birth correction and he was forced to go to the court.

On the other hand, the Indian government is facing severe turbulence including multiple scams involving government ministers, nationwide public protests against official corruption, open infighting among coalition parties in the ruling UPA (United Progressive Alliance), flagrant display of high-handedness by the politicians and bureaucrats, and so on.

Many in India already feel that they are living in an environment of democratic dictatorship where democracy is only for the few in the government and it’s dictatorship for the commoners.

Under such an atmosphere of restlessness, can the possibility of a coup be ruled out in India?

Photo courtesy: The Indian Express

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Rakesh Raman