Panel yet to send official summons to service chiefs

While he did not deny the possibility of the three service chiefs being called in future,the committee members were uncertain about the need and real import of the clarification.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: April 13, 2012 12:21:54 am

Three days after the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence decided to summon the three service chiefs on April 20 to seek their views on defence preparedness,there is a question mark over the said deposition. Committee chairman Satpal Maharaj “clarified” on Wednesday that no official correspondence for calling the chiefs “on the said date has so far been issued”.

While he did not deny the possibility of the three service chiefs being called in future,the committee members were uncertain about the need and real import of the clarification.

As recounted by committee members,on April 9,joint secretary on the committee had announced that the three service chiefs would be summoned on April 20. Some members had raised the point that they should be called one at a time and not together. Maharaj had then settled the issue saying they would be called together,said sources.

“The committee had unanimously decided to call the three service chiefs to throw light on defence preparedness as raised by Army Chief V K Singh in his letter to the Prime Minister. As per convention,if the chairman decides to change the decision,he would have to call another meeting of the committee to discuss it,” a non-UPA member of the committee told The Indian Express on Thursday.

At the last meeting of the committee,vice-chief of the Army had said while war-fighting stocks have to be for 40 days,in some areas like Armour Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot (a special tank ammunition),it is down to four days.

The next day,however,Defence Minister A K Antony had rebutted all apprehension about defence preparedness and termed reports about shortage of ammunition as “rumours”. “India is in a strong position as compared to the past,” Antony had asserted.

Maintain transparency,Antony tells defence PSUs

Defence Minister A K Antony on Thursday issued a stern warning to state-owned defence companies asking them to maintain transparency in their dealings with the armed forces. “There should be no compromise on transparency in dealings with the clients and users,” Antony said,reviewing the performance and functioning of eight defence PSUs,including BEML. The review meeting follows different CBI inquiries ordered into the procurement of Tatra trucks manufactured by BEML in India.

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