Army Chief letter row: Antony assures appropriate action
New Delhi: Hours after a leaked letter of Army Chief General VK Singh highlighted the lack of preparedness of the armed forces, Defence Minister AK Antony assured Parliament that the government is committed to ensuring the safety and security of the nation.
“I wish to assure the House and through it the nation that the government is determined to do all that is necessary to ensure the safety and security of the nation,” Antony told Rajya Sabha.
The government is committed to getting best equipment for the armed forces, Antony said, adding it is equally concerned about speeding up the modernisation process and strengthening defence preparedness to ensure national security.
As regards the issue of the Army Chief making confidential issues public, Antony told the House that he will take appropriate action after talking to the Prime Minister.
Making a secret letter public is harmful, the minister admitted.
The Opposition also demanded an enquiry into the matter, saying action should be taken against the person who leaked the letter.
Leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley of the BJP said alarmist situation is being created due to leaked secret reports.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier today held a high-level meeting on the Army Chief’s letter. The meeting was attended by Antony, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
The meeting came amidst demands from a section of the Congress party and the Opposition that the Army Chief be sacked for making confidential matters public.
In his letter written to the PM on March 12, the Army Chief had stated that the country’s security might be at risk owing to the fact that tanks are running out of ammunition, air defence is going obsolete and the infantry is operating without critical weapons.
Meanwhile, addressing concerns raised over the procurement process, Antony told Rajya Sabha that the government has been continuously tightening loose ends in the procurement process.
The government has blacklisted companies and cancelled contracts whenever corruption has come to light in procurement process.