Army Chief warns of strict action against corrupt officers

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New Delhi, Oct 27 (UNI) Worried over the burgeoning incidents of suicide, fragging and corruption in the army, Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor today handed out a terse message that he was according topmost priority to improving the image of the Force and strict action would be taken against corrupt officers.

Addressing a press conference after the conclusion of the week-long Combined Conference of Commanders here, Gen. Kapoor said like the media, he was also concerned over ''the incidents of suicide, fragging and corruption in the Army.'' The Army Chief said he was paying special attention to improving the work culture in the Army and the ''objective is to give an efficient and professional image to the Force.'' In order to reduce incidents of tension among the army personnel, he said several steps, including help from psychologists, had been initiated.

''We will not tolerate corruption at any level and those found involved in corrupt practices will not be spared,'' he said.

Gen. Kapoor said the Army has defined procedures and mechanism for dealing with the incidents of corruption. ''There are some incidents in which the charges of corruption are yet to be proved.

But once the charges are established, strict against would be taken against the guilty.'' Conceding the shortage of around 11,100 officers in the Army, he said efforts were being made to attract talented youngsters, but nothing would be done to lower the eligibility criteria.

In reply to a query, he said he was not opposed the creation of a post for the Chief of Armed Forces. ''The integration of all the three wings of defence is the future of armed forces and in the next decade or so, the concept of 'theatre command' would also develop,'' he added.

Asked about the process for modernisation of the defence forces, he said there is a long-drawn process for ensuring transparency in the purchase of arms. ''The Army is making all-out efforts to ensure that the proposals for buying arms do not congregate during the final months of a financial year. Similar efforts are also being made at the level of the Finance Minister and the Defence Minister,'' he pointed out.

Clarifying his stand on the Army's 'Space Vision', Gen. Kapoor said the army is the biggest consumer of space and it is preparing its viewpoint on its judicious use.

The Army Chief parried a direct reply on the civil nuclear pact with the US, merely stating that it is for peaceful purposes and it is only for non-military purposes.


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