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PM calls army movement report 'alarmist', says not to go by face value

April 4, 2012 - New Delhi

After the news of army units moving towards the national capital in January were published in The Indian Express, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh described it as alarmist and added that such reports should not be taken at face value.

"The Defence Ministry has already clarified its position. These are alarmist reports and should not be taken at face value," said Dr. Singh.

Earlier, Defence Minister A K Antony rubbished the story, calling it baseless and expressed full confidence in the patriotism of the Indian armed forces.

According to The Indian Express report, the two-army units moved towards New Delhi without notifying the government on January 16.

While the army described it as a routine fog-time exercise, an investigation by the newspaper reveals the incident took place hours after Chief of Army Staff General V.K. Singh had moved the Supreme Court on his age controversy.

The paper further cites central intelligence agencies as reporting an unexpected movement by a key military unit from the mechanised infantry based in Hisar, Haryana, on January 16.

Routine lookouts confirmed the movement of an entire unit of the Mechanised Infantry with Russian-made Armoured Fighting Vehicles carried on 48 tank transporters.

The report also said that a unit of the Agra-based 50 Para Brigade was also moved.

The Indian Express claims that Defence Minister A.K. Antony was informed of the movement and immediately put in motion an old contingency plan-by issuing a terror alert that entailed more police checking of vehicles and a slowing down of traffic.


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