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June 19, 2019
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Ex Indian Naval chief urges Election Commission to ensure forces are not used to influence elections

NEW DELHI: Voices are being raised in India that Prime Minister Modi is trying to use the armed forces and tension with Pakistan for influencing the upcoming general elections.

A former Indian naval chief Admiral L Ramdas has written a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI) expressing ‘concern’ and ‘dismay’ over recent instances where political parties attempted to use the armed forces to influence the electorate.

Criticising the use of armed forces for votes, the former admiral said the “recent instances of using the armed forces for political gains, especially in the aftermath of both Pulwama and the strikes in Balakot” is against the ethos of the armed forces.

He underlined the need that there should not be any misuse of these recent events by any political party to send triumphalist or jingoistic messages which can influence the electorate.

And it is in this context that as a responsible citizen and a veteran of the Indian Armed Forces, I share our collective sense of dismay and deep concern at how some political parties are brazenly pushing their agenda using images, uniforms and other examples, showing pictures of the armed forces with political figures, in public spaces, in media, election rallies and so on,” the letter added.

The former Indian Navy chief said it was completely unacceptable since it has the potential to destroy the very foundations and value system of the armed forces.