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Gen Singh does a U-turn, says Army prepared to meet any contingency

Thiruvananthapuram: Army Chief Gen VK Singh today said the force was operationally prepared to meet any contingency, days after he highlighted major "shortcomings" in the country's defence preparedness.

On corruption in defence deals, he said it was important to ensure probity and transparency.

Speaking about defence preparedness of the country, the Army Chief said, "With great confidence, I can say that operationally we are prepared to take on any contingency that can arise."

Speaking about defence preparedness of the country, the Army Chief said, "With great confidence, I can say that operationally we are prepared to take on any contingency that can arise." PTI

Singh said defence preparedness was a large field that comprises training of troops, morale of the troops and the type of equipment and other things.

In a letter to the Prime Minister on 12 March, Gen Singh had complained about lack of defence preparedness and ammunition. He had also pointed out the obsolescence of air defence systems in the force. The leakage of the letter in the media had triggered a controversy.

Maintaining that adequate measures were being taken to check corruption, he said, "Corruption has always been a major issue. We had people fighting against corruption for long time. Certain exposes have come up in recent times in various fields which included the defence sector also."

"Our thrust area is to ensure transparency and probity and also to ensure that middlemen and dealers who indulge in wrong practices are checked," he said.

He said it was also important that the defence forces were not saddled with sub-standard equipment.

Singh said it required wide ranging changes in the entire system in which the Army was only a minuscule part of it.

Gen Singh, who was the chief guest at the release of the Army-commissioned book on north eastern region "North East Trilogy", said the area was now much more peaceful than it was five years ago.

Citing examples of different north eastern states, he said the Army was closely working with state governments to bring insurgents to negotiation with the government.

Asked about the "threat perception" posed by China to that region, he said, "China is our neighbour."

He, however, said when you have a border that has not been settled, there can be all types of things happening. I do not want to say more on that", he said.

PTI