PM Modi & Defence Min Break Tradition, Skip Army Day At-Home Event
Prime Minister Modi was hosting his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on a six-day tour to India.
Marking a break from the convention, the prime minister and defence minister of India did not attend the Army Day function, held at the residence of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS).
The ‘at-home’ function held by the Indian Army to celebrate Army Day is when all Army personnel – retired and current – as well as important members of the government such as the Prime Minister, the President, the Defence Minister and more all gather at the residence of the COAS to meet and celebrate the contributions of the Indian Army. Some media, and other invited persons, are also usually present at the event.
On 15 January, the country celebrated Army Day, as tributes and salutations poured in honouring the armed forces for their valour and sacrifices.
Army chief General Bipin Rawat addressed a gathering of army men, and distributed posthumous awards to the martyrs.
The festivities of the day had culminated with the function at the COAS’ house. While senior army personnel, dignitaries and various members of the government had graced the 'at-home’ function, the absence of the prime minister and the defence minister at the event did not go unnoticed.
As per norms, the prime minister is expected to give away certificates to officers from the Indian Army for their innovation in areas such as communications, counter-terror operations etc.
According to senior journalist Manu Pubby, no Cabinet Minister was present at the function either.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister was hosting his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on a six-day tour to India.
The Raksha Mantri, meanwhile, was seen interacting with an ASSOCHAM delegation, which was followed by a meeting with the 'Prabhari Officers' from Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
According to Pubby, with this event, PM Modi has skipped functions held for all three- Army Day, Navy Day and Air Force Day.
Replying to Pubby's tweet on the issue, former COAS VP Malik called the absence of the PM and defence minister 'unusual', fuelling speculation among other retired senior officers.
PM Modi had earlier greeted the officers and saluted the personnel who sacrificed their lives while serving the nation, and said every citizen of the country has "unwavering trust and pride" in the Indian Army.
Sitharaman, too, had extended her wishes to the army personnel via Twitter.
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