Over 150 veterans including eight former service Chiefs wrote a letter to the President of India and Supreme Commander of the Armed forces Ram Nath Kovind urging him to intervene against politicisation of the military in the Lok Sabha elections.
“We hearby respectfully urge you to take all necessary steps to urgently direct all political parties that they must forthwith desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols, and any actions by military formations or personnel, for political purposes or to further their political agendas,” the veterans said in the letter dated April 11.
The first phase of polling in the general elections began on Thursday with the final phase to be held on May 19 and counting on May 23.
The former chiefs endorsing the letter include Army Chiefs General Sunith Francis Rodrigues, General Shankar Roychowdhury, General Deepak Kapoor, former Navy chiefs Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Admiral Arun Prakash, Admiral Suresh Mehta and former Air Chief Air Chief Marshal NC Suri.
The veterans referred to the “unusual and totally unacceptable practice” of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes and even being called “Modi ki sena” referring to recent comments by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
They stated that such misuse of armed forces “would impinge adversely on the morale and fighting efficiency of the serving man and woman in uniform.”
“We therefore appeal to you to ensure the secular and apolitical character of our armed forces is preserved,” the veterans urged in the letter.