New Delhi, June 1 (IANS) Nothing would be brushed under the carpet, Indian Army chief Gen Bikram Singh said Friday, sending out on his first day in office a strong message regarding difficulties facing the force, including sexual misconduct allegations during deployment in the UN Congo mission.
He was the UN Congo mission deputy commander when the international body's oversight panel had indicted the Indian forces of sexually abusing local women.
'Nothing will be brushed under the carpet, let me assure you this. This will be investigated and let me assure you we will take it to its logical conclusion,' the army chief said.
Bikram Singh, who took over as the 27th Indian Army chief and is the 25th officer to hold the coveted position, told reporters after a ceremonial guard of honour on the lawns of South Block here that his key result area would be to maintain the army as a 'secular, apolitical' force.
Only the second Sikh to take over as India's army chief, Bikram Singh had to overcome several hurdles, including a legal battle that sought to deny him the opportunity to head the world's second largest standing army.
'We will put our best foot forward. We will continue to remain a secular force, we will continue to remain an apolitical force and let us continue to do our job as it is supposed to be done,' he said, when asked what efforts would be taken to amend the strained civilian-military relations over the past 10 months.
'My outlook is to leave the past behind. Look through the windscreen and not through the rear view mirror when you take the army forward,' he said on the bitterness within the army and in relations with the civilian leadership.
'The vehicle is driven by looking through the windscreen and not through the rear view mirror when you take the army forward. My outlook is to leave the past behind,' he said.
All units of the 1.13 million force and its commanders work towards improving the organisation's internal health and that effort would continue, he said.
'The Indian Army shall continue to carry out its tasks, fulfill its constitutional obligations, and perform its role as per the desired norms. I will make sure that it remains one of the most accountable, most responsive, most disciplined, and most worthy element of national power,' he added.
Bikram Singh, who took over from Gen. V.K. Singh, was replying to questions over serious allegations and discipline issues faced by the force at a time he took over as army chief.
He was, till Thursday, Kolkata-based Eastern Army Commander, under whose jurisdiction the Dimapur-based 3 Corps functions.
The 3 Corps, headed by Lt. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag, had come under adverse notice recently over a botched up operation by its intelligence unit that allegedly committed theft outside its territorial jurisdiction, picked up three civilians without authority and killed them in a fake encounter.
'All these cases will be dealt with as per the rule book,' he said when asked what he would do about all the row that had been highlighted in the recent past, including the Congo blemish.
Responding to a query on the 'hollowness' in the army's key fighting units, Bikram Singh said it would be his endeavour to ensure the army is operationally 'ready and worthy' and 'fulfills its role in the correct manner'.
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