`Govt for speedy solution to ammo shortages`
New Delhi: After Army Chief Gen V K Singh`s letter on ammunition shortages, Government today said it was working towards a speedy solution to make up the shortfall and made it clear that the Armed Forces were ready to meet any challenge.
Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour, Defence Minister A K Antony also sought to down play the Army Chief`s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying that the three chiefs write such letters to him and the Prime Minister occasionally.
Antony said that after Gen Singh`s March letter to the Prime Minister, he had two meetings with the Army Chief, senior Army officers and Defence Ministry officials.
"We found deficiencies in certain areas. There were some deficiencies in General Staff Qualitative Requirement (GSQR) by Army, some issues had arisen due to blacklisting of Israel`s IMI, Rheinmetall Air Defence of Germany. This had also led to delays," Antony said.
He said the government was taking decisions to speed up procurement.
"Two rounds of discussions have been held. We are working towards a speedy solution. As far as the Armed Forces are concerned, they are ready to face any challenge," he said.
Noting that shortage of equipment was not a one-day affair, Antony pointed out that even during the height of Kargil War the then government was importing ammunition on a day-to-day basis from Russia.
He said that while 558 contracts worth Rs 1.35 lakh crore were awarded for various modernisation schemes under the 10th Plan, the amount increased three times in the 11th Plan.
"Under the 11th Plan, 780 contracts worth Rs 3,50,430 crore (were signed). Almost three times of the 10th Plan. We also spent almost the entire amount alloted to defence for modernisation. Last year also we spent 99 per cent," he said.
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