Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday said the purchase of ammunition and other assets for the armed forces is a continuous process and asserted that “gaps”, if any, will be filled expeditiously. She said that she had “not spoken anything about (a) CAG report” which had stated that the armed forces have ammunition that could last only for 20 days in the event of a war. “A question was asked to me yesterday in Barmer as to whether the Indian Army faces shortage of ammunition. I told reporters that in the Army, purchasing ammunition is a continuous process, sometimes some type of ammunition is purchased, sometimes other, as per the requirement,” Sitharaman told the mediapersons at the BJP headquarters in Gandhinagar.
“The next question was asked that CAG is saying there is shortage of ammunition, but others were also asking. Today, I was astonished to see some reports which said that Nirmala Sitharaman says that CAG report is wrong. I have not spoken anything about CAG report,” the minister said.
She also took to the twitter to clarify on the issue. “The question asked to me had no reference to the CAG. My reply was procurement is a continuing process, gaps will be filled.
“In none of my answers did I mention CAG. Putting 2 & 2 together, a quote has been created, which (is) strictly not mine,” Sitharaman tweeted.
During the media interaction in Barmer on Monday, she had said that any debate on shortage of ammunition with the armed forces was “unnecessary”. On her first trip to a border area after becoming the defence minister last week, Sitharaman had said the government will ensure availability of whatever is required by the armed forces for their “complete preparedness”.
In case of “any deficiencies”, she had said the should would urgently discuss those issues with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval so that those matters are addressed.