January 6, 2024
Retired Officers’ Book Review by the Army: What’s Allowed and Why Gen Naravane’s Book Faces Scrutiny
- The release of General M M Naravane’s upcoming book, “Four Stars of Destiny,” has sparked the Army’s review, causing speculation and inquiries into the rules governing retired defense personnel’s publications. Notably, the excerpts revealed insights into the LAC standoff with China and certain interactions within the Indian leadership.
Book Insights on the LAC Standoff
- The published excerpts shed light on crucial moments during the LAC standoff. Gen Naravane recounted a conversation with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on August 31, 2020, revealing the Defense Minister’s authorization for the Army to act as it deemed fit. Furthermore, it detailed Gen Naravane’s approach to handling the situation without initiating the first attack.
Reasons for Army Review
- The scrutiny of Gen Naravane’s book by the Army arises from the regulations outlined in Section 21 of The Army Rules, 1954. This section restricts serving personnel from publishing or communicating any service-related information without prior government approval. However, the applicability of these rules to retired officers like Gen Naravane remains ambiguous.
Applicability of Rules to Retired Officers
- The Army Rules do not explicitly outline the process for retired defense officers publishing books. Some officials suggest referencing the Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, despite the Armed Forces not falling directly under these regulations. The amended rules under the Civil Services (Pension) Rules restrict retired government servants from sharing specific organizational information post-retirement, particularly in intelligence or security-related contexts.
Precedent of Officers Writing Books
- Gen Naravane’s situation isn’t unprecedented. Various serving and retired Army officers, including former Chiefs, have authored books on military-related topics in the past. Notable examples include books by Gen V P Malik, Gen V K Singh, and Gen K Sundarji.
- The review and contemplation over the release of Gen Naravane’s book highlight the intricacies and uncertainties surrounding retired defense personnel’s publication rights and their relationship with established regulations.
- Gen Naravane’s upcoming book, with its revelations on the LAC standoff and other significant events, has prompted an evaluation by the Army, navigating the complex terrain of regulations governing retired officers’ publications while raising pertinent questions about their boundaries and implications.