NEW DELHI: A group of “deeply hurt” veterans from Army, Air Force and Navy on Monday slammed Congress leader
for his “irresponsible” remarks undermining the role of Indian
at the borders.
At a public meeting in Tamil Nadu on Sunday, Rahul Gandhi had said: “You are using the
, the Indian Navy the Indian Air Force to protect India from China. If you use India’s labourers, India’s farmers, India’s workers you will not need the Army, Navy and Air Force to be standing over there. China will not have the guts to come inside.”
He had made these remarks while attacking the Narendra Modi government.
The veterans, in their letter, dubbed Gandhi’s statement as “derogatory” and said it was demoralising for the men in uniform.
“Making demeaning statements that the Indian Army, Navy and the Airforce are dispensable, not only seriously demoralise our men in uniform, but also derogatory to the Armed Forces of the Nation, who have never hesitated to make the highest sacrifices to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Nation,” said a statement signed by 20 veterans.
Asking Rahul Gandhi to tender an apology, the veterans said, “Such ill-advised statements show serious inadequacy in threat perception that India is facing round the clock from enemies from outside as well as within some parts of the country.”
“We have the highest regards for Indian farmers, workers and labourers. However, the armed forces of India are also a very dedicated, highly trained professional outfit with exceptional worldwide reputation, which can be casually undermined by irresponsible leaders only at a grave cost of lurking danger to the security of our motherland,” they said.
Calling it Rahul’s “misplaced and off-tangent notion”, the veterans said the remark could have a misleading impact on the future generations and hence it was necessary to put things in the correct perspective.
They compared Rahul’s notion to “the imaginary Nehruvian utopia” which they said had “failed us against China in 1962.”
The statement said that the Indian armed forces have always performed their role to the best of their abilities and took pride in all campaigns, from countering internal security threats to providing relief to our countrymen in case of natural disasters.
“The people of our country have always been the motivating force in ensuring that the armed forces always come out the winners,” it added.
The veterans urged Rahul to remain discreet in referring to the forces in future as it affects the morale of the soldiers.