Amid the border stand-off with China, Defence minister Arun Jaitely on Friday rejected reports about shortage of ammunition and asserted that the armed forces have enough quantity to face any eventuality.
He stated this in the Lok Sabha after a member raised questions about the preparedness of the armed forces while contending that there are “disturbing reports from our border areas”, a reference to the Doklam stand-off.
A question was also asked in reference to a CAG report which had stated that the defence forces have ammunition that can last for 20 days in an event of a war, instead of the minimum requirement of 40 days.
“This question has been asked earlier also and I will only reiterate what I had said. Our defence forces have adequate equipment to face any eventuality,” Jaitely said, without any mention of the Doklam stand-off which has been going on for nearly two months.
The defence minister said the findings of the CAG report, which had talked about the shortage of ammunition, related to a particular point of time.
“Thereafter significant process has been made. It is a continuous process. Therefore, nobody should have any doubt about the availability of equipment or the preparedness of our forces,” he asserted.
Jaitley also sought to allay fears of closure of ordnance defence factories, saying all these factories and defence PSUs are going to continue and no employee will be retrenched.
“The core expertise of these ODFs (ordnance factories) is (manufacturing) ammunition and they will continue to do that,” he added.
In response to another question on the government’s target to achieve indigenisation by 2022, Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said taking into consideration the next 15 years, the forces have a long-term integrated (LTI) perspective on this.
CPI-M member A Sampth wanted to know whether the Defence Ministry would initiate steps to conduct an independent inquiry about the “disappearance” of Sukhoi aircraft and also to recover the bodies of two fighter pilots of the Indian Air Force namely Flight Lieutenant Achudev and Squadron Leader Devesh Pankaj.
He claimed empty coffins were sent to homes of the deceased.
The remains of the two pilots of the crashed Sukhoi-30 were recovered on May 31 from the crash site in dense forest area on hills in Assam-Arunachal Pradesh, eight days after it went missing.
“In any case, let us not have any doubt. The Air Force have investigated the matter and have given a detailed report. Nobody should have any basis to doubt the report of the Indian Air Force,” Jaitley said.