Shekhar Gupta, the Editor-in-Chief of The Print, is known to be a fear monger. The crowning achievement in the career of Shekhar Gupta was when he wrote an article hinting at a probable coup by the Indian Army in 2012. His news concerning the Indian Army’s unnatural movement towards New Delhi could have caused panic in the country but was soon put to rest by the Indian Army officials and the erstwhile UPA Defence Minister AK Antony. He has attempted something similar in the recent times too, this time it concerns the Indian government, the Indian Army and the military secrecy pact which is going to be discussed with the United States in September. The Print has carried a story titled “Army fears US could leak data to Pakistan if India-US sign military secrecy pact” on the 25th of July. The story quotes what is according to The Print an ‘official source’ saying, ‘We risk compromising our encrypted (coded) communication and a leak of information to Pakistan.’ It also falsely goes on to say that the Indian Army has asked the government to reconsider its decision to sign the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA).
COMCASA is the changed name of Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), the change in name was done to reflect its India-specific nature. COMCASA is meant to provide a legal framework for transfer of communication security equipments from the US to India. It would facilitate ‘interoperability’ between the Indian and US forces and potentially with other militaries which use US-origin systems for secured data links. It is one of the three military agreements which the US considers ‘foundational’ for a functional military relationship. India had already signed Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) which allows the military of each country to replenish from the others base back in August 2016. COMCASA is the second step which will be followed by Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA). COMCASA is needed for India to get the Sea Guardian drones from the US along with other military equipment which are dependent on highly secure data and communication system link.
The Indian Army was quick to respond to the claims made by the article in The Print and a tweet from the official handle of Additional Directorate General of Public Information, Indian Army quashed the rumors being spread by the portal. The tweet from ADG PI- INDIAN ARMY clearly stated that no such letter had been written by the Indian Army which made the whole article baseless and factually incorrect.
Reference to Indian Army is factually incorrect, Indian Army hasn't written note as mentioned in the article ‘Army fears US could leak data to Pakistan if India-US sign military secrecy pact’.@PIB_India @SpokespersonMoD @ThePrintIndia @vipulbansal2005https://t.co/PthbrJCXO1
— ADG PI – INDIAN ARMY (@adgpi) July 26, 2018
It remains to be seen what The Print’s reply is going to be in this case because if past instances are taken into account it becomes apparent the type of journalism it resorts to. Sensationalizing an issue, dragging the name of a prestigious organization like the Indian Army into such a sensitive topic must not be taken lightly and some rebuke or strict warning needs to be issued to the news website. Shekhar Gupta, it seems, is hell bent on tarnishing the Army’s reputation and if he is let off without a rebuke even this time he might carry out some more fake news in the days to come as well.
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