Indian military force is considered to be one of the best and most potent in this world. On numerous instances like internal disturbance or external aggression, the military proved its might comprehensively. India being a democratic nation has always maintained an amicable relation with the military. However, speculations and rumor mills also played its part by creating instances when India ‘could have faced’ military coup. Let’s discuss a bit.
‘Tension’ of 1960s
Prime Minister: Jawaharlal Nehru
Army Chief: General Kodandera Subayya Thimayya
A few details divulged by Central Intelligence Agency of United States of America pointed out towards a ‘possible’ military coup in India during the Indo-China war of 1960s. India, being a newly formed nation did not match the military might compared to that of China. On the other hand, in-calculative decisions taken by the Government further led to India’s defeat.
There arose a suspicion in the mind of Chinese authorities that Americans might cash in its diplomatic game plan and engineer a military coup in India. These speculations were further fueled by growing differences between the then Army Chief General K.S Thimayya and Defence Minister, Krishna Menon. The worst was imagined when the former ousted the latter from his office.
These stories have never been ascertained officially, but it did express the fear that prevailed once in the Chinese camp. Again, the way America acted during Indo-China war and Indian Army Chief and Defence Minister showed a volte-face to each other triggered an uncomfortable rumor of a possible military coup by the Indian Army.
‘Aftermath Effect’ of 1984
Prime Minister: Indira Gandhi
Army Chief: General Arun Sridhar Vaidhya
In 1980s the growing unrest in Punjab and demand for a separate state of Khalistan grew much prominent. Sikh fundamentalists called for a ‘sovereign state’ exclusively for Sikhs. The less than lukewarm response of the Government made the fundamentalists resort to violent ways.
The then Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi launched an all offensive attack to flush out Sikh militants. However, when she made the Army enter inside Golden Temple, the sacred place of worship of Sikhs, without removing shoes, things turned from bad to worse. The result was seen in the following days when Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh bodyguards.
The fact that Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated by Sikh bodyguards did not go down well with her party workers and they targeted the Sikh community. Thousands of Sikhs were killed mercilessly in and around Delhi. A state of chaos and commotion swept across the nation and the administration sulked. Eventually, the Army interfered and things came under some control of sorts. But again, civilians did face troubles due to the strict modus operandi adopted by the troops.
Going by the unrest that threatened to shatter National peace and Army’s no non sense methods post mayhem, a flaccid buzz of military coup made rounds for a while.
‘Blind Speculation’ of 2012
Prime Minister: Manmohan Singh
Army Chief: General Vijay Kumar Singh
A sensational news piece published by India’s leading newspaper shocked the entire nation when it raised doubts over Indian Army’s movement without notifying the Defence Ministry.
According to the report, on a certain January night, several Army units moved towards Raisina Hill and the Defence Ministry had no idea about it. Also, the age row of Army Chief General V.K Singh emerged as the prime point of disagreement between the Government and Army. However, General Singh made the most shocking revelation when he said he was offered bribe.
The report was immediately dismissed by Army as well as Government. However, several clouts of questions did remain unanswered only for guesses and speculations.
The twin controversy generated by General’s actual age and talks of bribe was followed by a super sensational report of Army’s unprecedented movement towards Delhi, went on to construct a story that points towards a military coup.