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PM calls report alarmist; Antony calls it baseless

April 04, 2012 13:23 IST
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Terming a media report that the Army moved two units towards Delhi in January without informing the government as "alarmist", Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said such reports "should not be taken at face value".

"These are alarmist reports. They should not be taken at face value," Singh told reporters on the sidelines of a function to give away the Padma awards at the Rashtrapati Bhawan in New Delhi.

Singh was asked to comment on a media report that the central intelligence agencies reported that on the night of January 16, an unexpected -- and non-notified -- movement by a key military unit from the mechanised infantry based in Hisar in the direction of the capital.

The prime minister said that the Ministry of Defence had already issued a clarification in this regard. The reports said that another unit -- identified as a large element of the 50th Para Brigade based at Agra – was also moving towards Delhi.

According to the report, the Army had said that the exercise was to check effectiveness in fog.

Meanwhile, Defence minister A K Antony termed as "absolutely baseless" fears of any coup attempt by the armed forces and expressed confidence that they will not do anything to undermine democracy.

"Absolutely baseless. The Army has already explained this. It is usual, natural activities. Nothing unusual. We are absolutely confident of the patriotism of the armed forces. Don't question their patriotism. They will not do anything to undermine Indian democracy," he told a press conference in Visakhapatnam.

The questioner told him that the report raised considerable alarm and fears of a coup and whether the government was afraid of such a possibility and what did it do. Would he rule out the possibility of a coup.

Antony said the armed forces personnel were "true patriots" and "don't question the patriotism of the soldiers who are dying in the frontiers of the country."

"I am proud of the Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and the Coast Guard," he said. He also urged the media not to lower the dignity of the armed forces on issues of national security.

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