"The army chief has done a great thing and I compliment him for the same. This will go a long way in boosting the morale of the force," the former soldier told NDTV, hours after he tweeted in favour of the Major again today.
Major Gogoi, sources said, was awarded the COAS Commendation Card for sustained efforts in Counter-insurgency operations". These operations include the actions of the Major on April 9 during the Srinagar by-election, when a local -- later identified as Farooq Ahmad Dar -- was tied to the bonnet of an Army vehicle in Kashmir's Budgam, the sources said.
"You cannot have the army fighting the stone pellets with one hand tied behind their backs," said Mr Singh, who has served in the 1965 war with Pakistan and is fondly called the "Captain" by his supporters. "I am talking as a soldier. If I was a young major I would have done the same," he added.
Asked whether his endorsement was amounted to support for the BJP's stance on the presence of armed forces in Kashmir, he said, "Peace can only be attained through talks and for that it is necessary that the forces and administration should have an upper hand".
Army operations in Kashmir should be viewed from an apolitical perspective. The leaders who were lashing out against the Major were doing so from politically motivated stand-points, he added.