New Delhi: Even as his Ministry rattled under the Army Chief's relentless pursuance of the age row, Defence Minister AK Anthony has refused to comment so far. But two days after Army Chief General VK Singh dragged the Government to court, the Ministry, in its first response indicated its strong displeasure.
"It sets an unhealthy precedent for the Government and the force," said MoS Defence Pallam Raju.
But the spotlight still remains on the Government's handling of the crisis. Many believe the Defence Ministry showed extreme short sightedness by looking at the issue primarily as a bureaucratic one. As the age crisis bubbled reaching boiling point, the Minister appeared ostrich like, giving the impression that rules were all.
For the first time he's under fire from the Opposition for inaction - not just on the age issue but for his almost obsessive quest for an unblemished procurement process that has meant delays and cost escalation in several projects. But others insist Antony has been spot on.
"The Defence Minister has shown a remarkable restraint by not commenting on the matter in public," said former IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal Anil Yashwant Tipnis.
In 2010 though, at the peak of the Sukhna scam, the Minister had taken a strident stand, when he overruled his then Army Chief General Deepak Kapoor and pushed for court martial proceedings against Avadesh Prakash, while the General was only ordering administrative action.
The crisis is now at the Prime Minister's table. With time running out, the apex court may now be the last resort out of this civil-military confrontation.