Chiefs of armed forces to depose before Parl Panel

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence decided to call the 3 service chiefs to give an account of the state of preparedness of the forces.

New Delhi: In an extraordinary step, the
Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence on Monday decided to
call the three service chiefs to give an account of the state
of preparedness of the forces against the backdrop of Army
Chief Gen VK Singh speaking of shortages and deficiencies.

The decision to call the Chiefs of Army, Air and Navy
before it on April 20 was part of an exercise to understand
the issue of defence preparedness as the panel was examining
the budgetary proposals of the Defence Ministry for 2012-13,
sources said.

The sources said the date for appearance could be
adjusted to ensure that all the three Chiefs are available on
the same day.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Committee
which also heard Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma
confirming that the army did not need to notify the government
on their movements and that the exercise of January 16-17
reported in the media was a "routine drill".

Sharma underlined that no standard operating procedures
were violated by the Army and the media report was
"misleading" and drew "wrong inferences", the sources said.

Satisfied by the Defence Secretary`s contention,
Committee members like Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Manish Tewari,
Naresh Gujral and Uday Singh said the matter should be treated
as closed, the sources said.

A newspaper media had created a sensation last week when
it said that two units of army, one based in Agra in Uttar
Pradesh and another in Hissar in Haryana, had moved towards
Delhi on the day the Army Chief went to the Supreme Court
against the government on the issue of his date of birth.