Union Defence Minister A K Antony today dismissed all assertions about munitions shortage as rumours and insisted that the situation was,in fact,far better than in previous years.
His remarks come a day after the Army Vice-Chief Lt Gen S K Singh told the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence that wartime stocks for certain critical anti-tank ammunition was down to just four days. Army Chief Gen V K Singh,it may be noted,had also written a letter to both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Antony listing out shortages in critical areas of defence supply.
The standing committee has called all the three service chiefs on April 20 to seek their views on the state of defence preparedness.
The Defence Minister,however,said reality is not as alarming as is being projected. These are all rumours. You see I can assure you that the country is fully prepared. India is in a much much stronger position compared to the past. There may be always some shortcomings,that is also in the process of being filled up. You cannot expect that 100 percent requirements will be fulfilled. And also,entire forces are not in the front all the time. They are spread over. On the whole,the Indian Armed Forces are now well prepared and they are in a better position to meet any challenges, he told reporters on the sidelines of the Air Force Commanders Conference.
To strengthen his argument,the Defence Minister sought to give a snapshot of the discussions at the Air Force Commanders Conference today. The Air Force Chiefs reporting to the meeting was exciting because in the last five years Air Force has signed 317 capital acquisition contracts and expenditure is over Rs 1 lakh crore. Its a record,its a record…its a record. They are more confident and some of the platforms have already started coming and more will come this year and next year. So I am happy today because things are much better compared to the past.