Military must be kept out of politics, says army chief
General Bipin Rawat was speaking at the third national security lecture on 'Media as a forced multiplier for national security' in New Delhi on December 6. Photograph: (ANI)
Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Wednesday stressed that the military must be kept out of politics and said that unlike in the "good old days", the army establishment was moving towards discussing politics which should be avoided.
General Rawat also said that one must avoid linking the military establishment with a political entity because the defence forces of India will do well if they remain above where they are expected to and do not meddle in the political affairs.
"Military must be kept out of politics. It is important to evolve a strategy which ensures that only that much goes out to the media which is necessary for the information of the public. There are some issues related to defence which have to be kept out of the public domain. We can develop a relationship with the media through building confidence and gaining their support rather than keeping them away, the army chief said at the third national security lecture on 'Media as a forced multiplier for national security' in New Delhi.
"In the good old days we always said we do not discuss politics and women in the Army in any establishment, but gradually we find that we are inching towards that but that is best avoided. I think the media can help us in doing that," General Rawat said.
The army chief called the media an important part of the information pillar of "National Power" and one could not avoid the media since "they are everywhere" but one could take advantage by clearly identifying what military wants from the media."
"Now we have to start looking at the media differently. Moulding public opinion is one of the areas where we need to focus. In India, the media has proliferated, whether it is print, social, or video, we cannot shy away from them because they are everywhere. We can take the advantage by clearly identifying what military wants from the media," he said, adding that daily interaction between military and the media was required as 'they cannot have things coming at distinct intervals.'
"We have psychological operations which are very important and relevant to the military. The purpose of the media is to come out with the truth and highlight it keeping the citizens informed but relevant information only," General Rawat said.
(With inputs from ANI)