India army chief ends legal showdown over birth date


India’s army chief on Friday withdrew a lawsuit in which he had sought a change in his birth date that would have let him remain in his post an extra year, ending a showdown with the government.
General V.K. Singh withdrew his appeal after the Supreme Court upheld the government’s stand that the army chief’s birthday in official records was May 10, 1950. Singh, who maintained he was born on the same day a year later and that a transcription mistake had been made in his records, would have been able to remain in office an additional 12 months had the court upheld his appeal. Indian government employees must retire at 62.
The dispute had provoked an embarrassing clash between the government and India’s 1.13-million-strong military, the fourth largest in the world. The defence ministry welcomed Singh’s decision to withdraw the lawsuit, which had thrown succession plans for heading the army into uncertainty. “We are happy that the issue has been finally resolved and the controversy put to rest,” defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said.