‘Defence preparedness must be on par with threat’

India`s defence preparedness should be on par with the threats it faces in a "difficult neighbourhood", Arun Jaitley said on Tuesday.

Updated: May 08, 2012, 19:57 PM IST

New Delhi: India`s defence preparedness should be on par with the threats it faces in a "difficult neighbourhood", Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley Tuesday said Tuesday, accusing Defence Minister A.K. Antony of not taking bold steps in this direction.

Participating in the debate on the working of defence ministry, the BJP leader said India "stood at risk and the threat should not be ignored".

"In the past few years, the geo-strategic realities of India have changed. Our defence preparedness has to be integral to these changed realities," Jaitley said.

"Defence preparedness has to match this reality. A radicalised Pakistan under army control with the civilian government as a showpiece is not going to help," he said.

He said that "emerging Pakistan-China" military axis has reached a "new level" putting Indian territory under greater threat.

"The defence experts opine that India must have a potential for 90-day full spectrum war. It must be prepared to meet the China-Pakistan axis for a two-front engagement. The object of this engagement should be to `defeat Pakistan` and `holding China`."

Pointing out "shortcomings" in the defence forces, he said "there has been no acquisition of artillery guns since 1986... In the armoury, we have vintage T-55 and T-90 tanks. Seventy percent of our weaponry is night blind. This night blindness has to be cured."

He also stressed that more needed to be done for the air force and navy as well.

"The Indian Navy needs at least three aircraft carriers. We have only one aircraft carrier... Chinese air force is planning 2,300 combat aircraft by 2020. We are targeting only 750."

The leader of opposition slammed the defence minister saying "Why should a minister be prisoner of his own image? India needs a bold initiative by the government."

"The fear of a possible allegation should not lead to us to inaction. If we continue to proceed at the present pace, we are doing showing a great disservice to the nation," he added targeting Antony.