Army chief defers visit to Tajikistan, Turkmenistan

Amid preparations to brief the next government on the issues facing the Defence Ministry and the armed forces, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has deferred his visit to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

PTI| Updated: May 22, 2014, 22:12 PM IST

New Delhi: Amid preparations to brief the next government on the issues facing the Defence Ministry and the armed forces, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has deferred his visit to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. The Army Headquarters had tentatively scheduled the visit between May 26-28 but in view of the preparations for briefing the new government, it has been deferred, Army sources said here.

The visit will be rescheduled according to mutual convenient dates, they said. The new government will take over on May 26 after the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi and the Defence Ministry and the three Services are preparing to make presentations before the new administration on the issues faced by them.

The Ministry and the Services are preparing a list of issues and problems which would be put up before the next government.

The list of issues is likely to include the delayed acquisition of critical weapon systems including the 126 Multirole Combat Aircraft, 197 light choppers and shortage of ammunition faced by the Army for its tank fleet, the sources said.

The divide between civilian and military officers is also likely to figure among the issues. This divide between civilian and military bureaucracy had come out in open during the age controversy of former Army Chief and now BJP MP Gen V K Singh.

The list of issues to be presented before the next government is being supervised by Defence Secretary R K Mathur.
The various departments under the Defence Ministry have also sent the status report of the various important defence manufacturing and procurement projects to the PMO and the Cabinet Secretariat, officials said.
The exercise comes after the Cabinet Secretary asked all the ministries and departments to flag issues faced by them for the next government, which will start functioning after the swearing-in ceremony on May 26 evening.