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Army lacks helicopters: Parliament panel


Updated: April 30, 2012, 3:21 PM IST
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Army lacks helicopters: Parliament panel
The Army faces a shortage of 18 Cheetah, one Chetak, 76 ALH and 60 ALH with weapon systems.

New Delhi: Parliament's Standing Committee on Defence has confirmed that there are huge gaps between sanctioned and existing weapons platform with the Army. According to the Standing Committee on Defence report tabled in Parliament on Monday there is a huge shortage of helicopters with the Army Aviation unit. The Army faces a shortage of 18 Cheetah, one Chetak, 76 Advance Light Helicopter and 60 Advance Light Helicopter with weapon systems.

The report reveals that the letter written by Army Chief General VK Singh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the poor state of Army's war preparedness and the obsolete weaponry showed the factual status. In the letter addressed to the Prime Minister dated March 12, General Singh had written that the Army's tank regiments lacked ammunition to defeat the enemy, the air defence was almost obsolete and the infantry falling short of critical weapons.

He underlined that the country's security might be at stake due to the critical shortage of ammunition. The letter, sent to the Prime Minister's Office, had asked Manmohan Singh to 'pass suitable directions to enhance the preparedness of the Army'. The explosive letter comes amidst claims made by the Army Chief that he was offered bribe to clear a deal for sub-standard vehicles in the Army.

General Singh wrote that the Army's entire tank fleet was devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks. He also added that the air defence was '97 per cent obsolete and it doesn't give the deemed confidence to protect from the air', the infantry had 'deficiencies of crew served weapon' and lacks 'night fighting' capabilities and that the Elite Special Forces were 'woefully short of essential weapons'.

General Singh also pointed out that the 'hollowness' in the system is a manifestation of the procedures and processing time for procurements as well as legal impediments by vendors.

General Singh also mentioned that the work quality was poor and there was a 'lack of urgency at all levels' on matters of national security.

The Standing Committee also said that the report by a national daily on the movement of troops which reportedly spooked the government was not true. According to the Committee the details furnished by Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma showed that the movement of troops was purely for training purposes aimed at refining the mobilisation drills and ensuring operational preparedness of the Army under adverse weather conditions.

On the issue of seeking Ministry of Defence's permission or intimating it about such movement, the Defence Secretary also substantiated that to the best of his knowledge there was no such government order.

First Published: April 30, 2012, 3:21 PM IST
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