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PM dismisses �unusual� troop movement report

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, April 4 � Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the defence establishment today dismissed a news report in a Delhi daily on the �unusual� movement of two elite Army units towards the capital in mid-January as �alarmist� and �absolutely baseless�, reports PTI.

The report in Indian Express that said the government was �spooked� on the night of January 16-17, because of the movement of a mechanised infantry battallion from Haryana�s Hisar and a sizeable section of 50 Para Brigade created a storm in the government, defence establishment and political parties.

�These are alarmist reports. They should not be taken at face value,� the Prime Minister told reporters on the sidelines of a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

To a question on the stand off between government and the Army Chief, the Prime Minister said, �the Army Chief�s office is an exalted office. All of us have an obligation to do nothing that would lower its dignity.�

Singh was reacting to the report on the movement of troops, which took place on the day Army Chief Gen V K Singh approached the Supreme Court on the age issue.

Defence Minister Antony described as �absolutely baseless� fears of coup by the armed forces and expressed confidence that they will not do anything to undermine democracy.

Referring to the news report which said the movement was without the knowledge of the government, Army sources said that there was no requirement for clearance from the Ministry in case of movement of troops below Division level (comprising more than 10,000 troops).

Ministry sources also said that Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma had spoken to the Director General (Military Operations) on the day and asked for a report on the issue.

Army sources said once the aim of the movement of troops was achieved as per Standard Operating Procedure, the troops went back to their respective locations.

�Absolutely baseless. Army has already explained this. It is usual, natural activities. Nothing unusual. We are absolutely confident of the patriotism of the armed forces. Don�t question their patriotism. They will not do anything to undermine Indian democracy,� he told a press conference in Visakhapatnam after commissioning �INS Chakra�, a nuclear power submarine.

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PM dismisses �unusual� troop movement report

NEW DELHI, April 4 � Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the defence establishment today dismissed a news report in a Delhi daily on the �unusual� movement of two elite Army units towards the capital in mid-January as �alarmist� and �absolutely baseless�, reports PTI.

The report in Indian Express that said the government was �spooked� on the night of January 16-17, because of the movement of a mechanised infantry battallion from Haryana�s Hisar and a sizeable section of 50 Para Brigade created a storm in the government, defence establishment and political parties.

�These are alarmist reports. They should not be taken at face value,� the Prime Minister told reporters on the sidelines of a function at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

To a question on the stand off between government and the Army Chief, the Prime Minister said, �the Army Chief�s office is an exalted office. All of us have an obligation to do nothing that would lower its dignity.�

Singh was reacting to the report on the movement of troops, which took place on the day Army Chief Gen V K Singh approached the Supreme Court on the age issue.

Defence Minister Antony described as �absolutely baseless� fears of coup by the armed forces and expressed confidence that they will not do anything to undermine democracy.

Referring to the news report which said the movement was without the knowledge of the government, Army sources said that there was no requirement for clearance from the Ministry in case of movement of troops below Division level (comprising more than 10,000 troops).

Ministry sources also said that Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma had spoken to the Director General (Military Operations) on the day and asked for a report on the issue.

Army sources said once the aim of the movement of troops was achieved as per Standard Operating Procedure, the troops went back to their respective locations.

�Absolutely baseless. Army has already explained this. It is usual, natural activities. Nothing unusual. We are absolutely confident of the patriotism of the armed forces. Don�t question their patriotism. They will not do anything to undermine Indian democracy,� he told a press conference in Visakhapatnam after commissioning �INS Chakra�, a nuclear power submarine.