In an embarrassing incident that left the Defence Ministry red-faced, its spokesperson tweeted about 'misuse' of facilities by military officers in a reply to a tweet by a formal Navy chief, Admiral Arun Prakash (retd).
In an embarrassing incident that left the Defence Ministry red-faced, its spokesperson tweeted about ‘misuse’ of facilities by military officers in a reply to a tweet by a formal Navy chief, Admiral Arun Prakash (retd). The tweet sent from the official Twitter handle of Defence Ministry’s spokesperson highlighted the widening rift between the armed forces and the bureaucracy over privileges and status. While the controversial tweet from the official handle, @SpokespersonMOD, was later deleted, MOD spokesperson Swarnashree Rao Rajshekhar apologised for the same. Many military veterans expressed their outrage against the tweet on Twitter.
Later in the evening, Rajshekhar went on leave and Col. Aman Anand took over as the acting official spokesperson of the ministry. “Col. Aman Anand, took over as the acting Official Spokesperson of MoD as the spokesperson proceeds on leave,” the defence ministry in a tweet said.
The former Navy Chief Admiral Prakash had commented on a photograph showing a military flag on the bonnet of an official car of the Internal Financial Adviser to the Western Command of the Army in Chandimandir in Haryana.
“Even if misuse of an Army Command’s insignia by a civilian is not a cognizable offence, the person needs to be reprimanded by the GOC in C whose ‘Financial Adviser’ he is,” the former Navy chief Admiral Prakash had tweeted.
Even if misuse of an Army Command’s insignia by a civilian is not a cognizable offence, the person needs to be reprimanded by the GOCinC whose “Financial Adviser” he is. https://t.co/sxyM13miOH
— Adm. Arun Prakash (@arunp2810) October 24, 2018
Responding to the tweet, Rajshekhar tweeted from Defence Ministry’s official handle @SpokespersonMoD, “What about misuse of jawans in your residence during an officer’s tenure sir? And how about children being picked up and dropped to school in fauji (military) gaadis (vehicles)? Not to forget Madam’s shopping expedition on government vehicles. And endless parties. Who pays for that?”
As the tweet from the principal spokesperson drew angry reactions from military veterans, she deleted the tweet, saying, “The tweet was inadvertently done and the same is deeply regretted please.” She also stated that she had tweeted by mistake a message which was intended for a private group on a mobile messaging app.
The military veterans while expressing their outrage, said that she reflected the attitude of the civilian bureaucracy towards the armed forces, IE reported.
The former Navy chief Admiral Prakash responded by asking for “sober reflection; (a) by MoD on state of civil-mil relations and (b) by Military Leadership on the aspersions cast by MoD (IDAS?) civil-servant on personal conduct of Service officers”.
Rather than getting excited over indiscreet tweet of @SpokespersonMoD I would suggest sober reflection; (a) by MoD on state of civil-mil relations & (b) by Military Leadership on the aspersions cast by MoD (IDAS?) civil-servant on personal conduct of Service officers. https://t.co/PwyMzzotK4
— Adm. Arun Prakash (@arunp2810) October 26, 2018
A war hero from the 1971 war who was the chief of Navy Staff between July 2004 and October 2006, Admiral Prakash is also a commentator on strategic affairs.
Rajashekar is an officer from the Indian Defence Accounts Service (IDAS), was appointed by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as the principal spokesperson for the Defence Ministry. The post is usually occupied by an Indian Information Service officer.