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Army doesn't have equipment it needs: General VK Singh

After a bribery scandal, the Indian Army Chief is back in the headlines after reportedly writing to the Prime Minister saying that the country's security is at risk due to obsolete equipment, delays in obtaining equipment and in some cases the lack of it. His allegations resulted in the adjournment of the Rajya Sabha as the Opposition raised questions about it.

The letter written by General VK Singh on 12 March 2012 says that tanks in the Indian Army have run out of ammunition, Times Now reported.

The Army Chief has written to the Prime Minister complaining about defence equipment procurement procedures. Reuters

The letter reportedly states that the shortcomings in the army need to be addressed to bring the defence force to optimal preparedness.

General Singh has reportedly said that 97 percent of the of the air defence is obsolete and that elite special forces squads are short of weapons.

In an allegation that may have been directed at the Defence Minister AK Antony, Singh pointed out that the problems in the system were a result of procedures for procurements in addition to legal impediments from vendors.

He also raised doubts about the quality of work at ordinance factories and said that the shortcomings severely eroded the army's preparedness and needed to be urgently mitigated.

Opposition MPs like the BJP's Venkiah Naidu raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha and asked that the government state its stand on the letter.

However, they had to be satisfied with a reply from Defence Minister AK Antony who said, "I am aware of the letter as Defence Minister and the government will respond at an appropriate time."

The Rajya Sabha had to be adjourned due to an uproar from Opposition MPs.

Minister of State for Defence,  Pallam Raju, told reporters that they were making efforts to ensure the requirements of the armed forces were completed.

Raju said the defence ministry has utilised the entire budget allocated to it in the last three years.

"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," Raju told reporters.

with inputs from Agencies