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Bridging gaps in armed forces capabilities: Pallam Raju

New Delhi, Wed, 28 Mar 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Mar 28 (ANI): Reacting to Army Chief General V.K. Singh's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the possibility of a security risk due to shortage of arms and ammunition, Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju on Wednesday admitted candidly that there are gaps in the capabilities of armed forces and efforts are on to bridge these quickly.

"We will make the acquisition process transparent .We have utilized the capital budgete It has led to the cancellation of tenderse We do not want that to happen again," Raju told media here.

"In the last three years we have utilised the entire capital budget and there was no surrender of budget. Nevertheless, there are gaps in capabilities which we are trying to bridge as quickly as possible," he added.

He further said the revelations made by General Singh over an instance of bribery are very serious and the ministry is trying its best to avoid such things in future.

"See, I think it's a very serious disclosure that has happened and I think the important thing is to reduce these kind of things happening in the Ministry of Defence and in our defence procurement and towards that end I think the ministry has been very responsive in the way we have been framing the rules and the policy to minimise all these things," he said.

Raju further said the defence ministry has been very active in formulating stringent rules and policies.

"We are changing policy wherever possible to prevent such things from happening because every time an irregularity is pointed out and every time a cancellation happens, it results in us buying the same equipment at a much more larger and bigger price in a point later in time, which is denying us the capabilities at times required and it is affecting our preparedness. So I think it is in the nation's interest that we have to tighten these rules and towards that end I think Defence Minister has been very active in formulating the policies and the rules," he added.

According to reports, the letter, sent to the Prime Minister's Office on March 12, has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take suitable steps to enhance the preparedness of the country's army services.

He claimed that the army's tanks are "devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks" and air defence is "97 percent obsolete and it doesn't give the deemed confidence to protect...from the air."

General Singh and Defence Minister Antony are already faced with a crisis with the former disclosing on Monday that he was offered a 14-crore bribe in 2010 to clear 600 substandard trucks for the army. (ANI)

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