New Delhi: Refuting allegations levelled by a few opposition parties about politicisation of the armed forces, new Indian Army chief, Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane on Friday asserted that the army is apolitical.
In response to a question on this issue during a media interaction with a few journalists at the Army headquarters here, Gen Naravane said: "I totally disagree. We are apolitical. It is a misperception of a few people which is totally incorrect."
Asked about the army being called in to build a railway bridge, cleaning of Himalayas and other getting involved in other activities apart from operational preparedness, he stressed: "Army is of the people and for the people."
He said that the army did right thing by constructing a bridge at the railway station. "If we made a bridge for the people, we did a good work. There is nothing wrong in it," Naravane said.
In 2017, 23 people died due to the Elphinstone foot over bridge collapse in Mumbai and the army was called in to construct a new foot over bridge over there. The bridges were constructed by army Engineers in a record 117 days.
The bridge at Elphinstone Road station is 70 metres long, and as many as 250 personnel of the Bombay Engineering Group and Centre, Pune, also known as Bombay Sappers, were involved in the task that was completed within four months.
On January 1, Gen Bipin Rawat, the country's first Chief of the Defence Staff, also stressed that the Indian armed forces are away from politics. "We are far away from politics. We work as per directions of government of the day," he stressed.