New Delhi: Indian Army chief, General Bipin Rawat on Saturday spoke in favour of Field Marshal K.M. Cariappa's name being recommended for the Bharat Ratna.
"We stand proud because of his leadership and I think very aptly brought out, the time has also come to recommend Field Marshal Cariappa for Bharat Ratna," the Army Chief said as he unveiled statues of his predecessors, Field Marshal Cariappa and Gen. K.S. Thimayya at this hill town in Karnataka's Kodagu district, about 240 km from Bengaluru.
"If others can get it I feel no reason why he should not be a deserving personality for the same. We will certainly address this issue on priority," he said.
The statues were unveiled at Cauvery College.
"No amount of words can describe the leadership of a great leader like Field Marshal Cariappa. He may have gone, but he has left behind an indelible mark on each and every soldier who serves the Indian Army today," Rawat said.
Reacting to the Army Chief's comment, Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the Army Chief should desist from making comments on policy.
"The army is the most respected institution because it is anonymous behind the scenes. It is the foundational fulcrum of our democracy," he said.
Singhvi's comments were countered by retired Lt. Gen. Raj Kadyan, who said the Army Chief did not make any comments against the democratic structure.
"Army chief has full right to speak, and what has he said? Has he said anything against discipline and country? He just said the man should have been given the honour," Kadyan told TV news channel News X.
"There is nothing political in his comment, he has not said anything against democratic values of the country," he said.
The bronze statues were installed in the vicinity of the 'Lyn House', the ancestral house of Kodavdira family, to which both the Generals belonged.
Cariappa was the first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Army and was conferred the Field Marshal rank on April 1986. He is also a recipient of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his role in the Burma campaign against the Japanese during the Second World War (1939-1945).
Thimayya headed the army from 1957 to 1961. He was the only Indian to command an infantry brigade in World War II.
Cariappa was born on January 28, 1899 and died May 15, 1993 in Bangalore. Thimayya was born on March 30, 1906 and died in harness on December 17, 1965 in Cyprus, where he was commander of the UN Peacekeeping Force.