‘Ensure India’s forces aren’t used for political gains’: Ex-navy chief Admiral L Ramdas to Election Commission

Former chief of naval staff, Admiral L Ramdas (retired), has written to the Election Commission of India (ECI) expressing “concern” and “dismay” over what he sees as the misuse of the air strike in Pakistan to “influence the electorate”.

Admiral Ramdas led the Indian Navy from 1990 to 1993 and was part of naval blockade of East Pakistan during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. The operation, one of the most effective naval blockades, prevented Pakistan from evacuating over 90,000 soldiers from Bangladesh. They eventually surrendered before the Indian Army. Ramdas was awarded the Vir Chakra for his role in the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War.

Criticising the use of armed force to garner votes, the former admiral has said the “recent instances of using the Armed Forces for political gains, especially in the aftermath of both Pulwama [in which 40 CRPF jawans lost their lives] and the strikes in Balakot” is against the ethos of the armed forces.

The armed forces, Ramdas has said in the letter, are “a-political” and have always followed “secular” ethos.

He has also asked the Election Commission to ensure that armed forces are not used for political gains. “With elections due a few weeks from now, it is particularly important that there should not be any misuse of these recent events by any political party to send triumphalist or jingoistic messages,” Admiral Ramdas has said in his letter.