‘Equilibrium between Defence Min, Army disturbed’

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 18:49

New Delhi: Expressing concern over Army Chief Gen V K Singh`s letter to the Prime Minister, BJP on Wednesday
said "it shows the equilibrium between the Defence Ministry
and the Army has been disturbed" and pitched for modernisation
of the forces which appear to have suffered.

"The contents of the Army Chief`s letter are scary. When
the common man reads that the defence forces have no
ammunition and cannot defend the country he finds it scary,"
Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj told
reporters.

BJP was equally critical of the Army Chief for not
pursuing the bribe offer case and writing a letter to the
Prime Minister on the state of affairs in the Army as well as
Defence Minister A K Antony for not handling these issues-
including the need for modernisation- with deftness.

"The decision to write a letter is always fraught with
the possibility, even if one per cent, that it may be leaked
at some point in time," Swaraj said, criticising the Army
Chief.

She also wondered why Gen V K Singh had not immediately
got the officer, who offered him Rs 14 crore bribe, arrested.

BJP is also of the opinion that writing such a letter
to the PM is a "breach of discipline". It expressed its ire at
the differences between the ministry and the Army.

"It is very evident that while the armed forces are
within civilian control and that ought to be, the equilibrium
between them remains disturbed," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar
Prasad said.
He claimed that to deal with such issues, deft political
management and statecraft is required, "which this government
appears to be lacking".

"Government of India has been found wanting on several
issues, be it the Army chief`s age row or this matter. This is
not in the country`s interest. This problem needs to be
corrected through statecraft and political leadership. And I
also mean from the Prime Minister," Prasad said.

Asked about its view on the demand of ally JD(U) that
Gen Singh be sacked, Prasad said "we do not share the view
that he should be sacked."

BJP underlined the need for procurement of weapons and
modernisation of the forces.

"We are very clear that integrity of the procurement
process ought not to be compromised. Modernisation should go
on without compromising on honesty, integrity and credibility
of the army," Prasad said.

The opposition party insisted it did not want to score
political points on such a sensitive issue but these questions
have to be posed.

"Why is the integrity agreement between the ministry
and the army not working?" Prasad said.

BJP reiterated its stand that these fissures between the
ministry and the army should not have come into the public.

"General V K Singh will retire in a month," Prasad said,
adding the bigger issues raised here should be addressed.

The party wondered why Antony had not apprised the
Prime Minister about Gen Singh`s bribe offer incident.

Former Defence Minister and BJP MP Jaswant Singh had
given a notice for suspension of the Question Hour in the Lok
Sabha today to discuss the Army Chief`s letter issue but it
could not be taken up as there was uproar over the Telangana
issue.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - 18:49

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