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Gen Singh should explain lack in army ammo: Parl panel

'Shocked' by the reports of Indian Army's critical deficiencies in ammunition the Parliamentary Defence panel has decided to summon Army chief General VK Singh next week to explain the situation, noted CNN-IBN.

General Singh had listed some of the critical deficiencies in ammunition and equipment in a letter to the Prime Minister that was later leaked.

General Singh had listed some of the critical deficiencies in ammunition and equipment in a letter to the Prime Minister that was later leaked. AFP

Reacting to the report, member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence and Shiromani Akali Dal Rajya Sabha member Naresh Gujral said, "This is absolutely shocking. We had no idea that this was the state of affairs."

Talking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Gujral added, "I made a request to the Chairman in a Standing Committee meeting that we should summon the Army Chief and ask him because whatever is coming out in public domain is absolutely startling and shocking and it is something which causes great concern in our minds."

However, Former Director General, Infantry, Lt Gen (Retired) Shankar Prasad said it was the responsibility of the Defence Ministry and not the Army Chief. "Please call the Defence Ministry official and the minister to the Parliamentary board rather than to summon the Army Chief," he said.

Army has repeatedly made presentations to the political top brass that war reserves are below critical level.

A majority of India's air defence is also reportedly obsolete. A vast majority of the Air Defence guns are also of World War II vintage and the the Indian Army has admitted that 97 percent of them are obsolete, reported CNN-IBN.

The General’s letter to the Prime Minister, written on 12 March 2012, had highlighted shortcomings in the defence equipment procurement procedure for the army and had stated that some divisions of the army were struggling with equipment shortages.

The Defence Minister meanwhile told Parliament on Wednesday that the government was making all efforts to ensure that the armed forces had all the equipment they needed. However, political parties supporting the ruling UPA alliance like the RJD and Samajwadi Party had called for the removal of Singh from his post.

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