Fanciful coup détat story

It is a pity Indian Express ran with the potential coup détat story that to journalists may have seemed fleshy but that any professional militaryman or domain expert would have warned them was hollow. (It is always advisable, in the circumstances, to have some stalwart armymen respond to such stories before putting it in print.) The trouble is Shekhar Gupta has always fancied himself as someone knowledgeable on, and informed about, military matters, and it was perhaps too juicy a story for him as editor-in-chief to pass up by way of an albeit shared byline. In retrospect, he might wish he had left Ritu Sarin, who has over the years cultivated good sources in the intelligence agencies, to monopolize the (dis)credit. In military terms, the story was so much nonsense, and I said so and explained why to several highly-placed political persons from the opposition who called this morning to find out how much credibility  was packed in this story. If a coup could be prosecuted so easily — with just two army units — in a vastly divided military system of command and control, there might have been many coups or at least coup attempts by now.

Having said that, however, there is no gainsaying the fact that the plausible sounding outlines of the report were likely onpassed to Sarin by her Intel contacts who, in turn, may have been prompted by some civil servants (with a nod and wink from a minister) to see whether it flies and even more if the radioactive dust settles on the COAS, General VK Singh. It hasn’t, and the mud is now stuck on Shekhar Gupta’s face and, perhaps, has considerably soiled his reputation.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in civil-military relations, Indian Army, Indian Politics, Internal Security. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Fanciful coup détat story

  1. Jagdish says:

    Good call on Shekhar Gupta. He does think too much of himself at times. Likes to walk the talk with one and all. Time for IE to get a new editor – a real one, who can fill in the shoes of the likes of Arun Shourie, who once occupied that office.

  2. AMAR says:

    I agree with your viewpoint. Shekhar Gupta and IE seem to have been manipulated by some cunning bureaucrats in MOD who want to tarnish the image of our gallant def forces just to cover their own sheer incompetence on issues being raised by the WARRIOR GENERAL.

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