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India's defence at all-time low, soldiers a 'shield to play politics and hide failures': Congress

Kolkata: The Congress on Saturday alleged that the country's defence preparedness was at an "all-time low" under the Narendra Modi government and soldiers had become a "shield to play politics and hide failures".

"For Modi, the soldiers have become a shield to play politics and hide his failures. The country saw 172 terror-related incidents in the last three years, which was unprecedented. As many as 578 jawans and 877 civilians were killed in terror attacks in the country in the last 35 months," Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told a press conference in Kolkata.

"In Jammu and Kashmir alone, 203 jawans were killed in the last three years," he added.

Questioning the prime minister's "silence" on the matter, Singhvi asked him to come out with an answer.

Referring to national security, he said, "Empty phrases, chest-thumping, acronyms and promises have taken the place of concrete deliverables on the ground. The Modi government is a complete failure as far as national security is concerned."

File image of Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi. AFP

File image of Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi. AFP

Singhvi alleged that the country's defence preparedness was at an "all-time low" under the current government.

He claimed that in 2014-2015, the funds sanctioned by the defence ministry were "30 percent less" than what was asked for and out of the funds sanctioned, Rs 12,000 crore had remained unspent.

Taking a dig at Arun Jaitley, who holds both the finance and defence portfolios, Singhvi said, "It has become a part-time holding of two important ministries."

Questioning the purpose behind the prime minister's frequent foreign visits, the Congress spokesperson alleged that the country had "no policy" as regards Pakistan.

"You (Modi) have no policy vis-a-vis Pakistan. It is only flip-flops and U-turns. In fact, it is a 100-percent flop because of inconsistency and unpredictability. There was this incident in which Indian soldiers were beheaded. Instances of cross-border terrorism and ceasefire violations too have gone up in the last three years.

"Mr Modi, you are all dressed up with nowhere to go. You have become your foreign minister, but what have you achieved as regards foreign policy?

"You had achieved jhula (swing) diplomacy and dhokla (a Gujarati food item) diplomacy with Chinese President Xi Jinping and he had barely left India when there were ceasefire violations at Siachen by the Chinese troops. The Chinese president had opposed you on India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and Security Council (UNSC)," he said.

Continuing his attack on the Centre, Singhvi said, "Even Russia, which stood with us in difficult times, for the first time in 70 years has agreed to supply MI helicopters to Pakistan and lifted an embargo on supplies to that country. It also had joint military exercises with Pakistan. Even US president Donald Trump abused you yesterday. So, what is the purpose of your foreign trips?"

The Congress leader described the ruling PDP-BJP combine in Jammu and Kashmir as an "unholy alliance" and claimed that tourism was the most affected sector in that state.

"It seems there is one government in Jammu and another one in Kashmir. Elections were held in the state in the past as well, but never before had it witnessed a mere 7-percent voter turnout," he said.

Stating that there was no "magic button" to press as regards the situation in the trouble-torn northern state, Singhvi said, "A Congress-led government was at the Centre for 10 years. Tourism had reached its peak in Jammu and Kashmir during our rule."

Published Date: Jun 03, 2017 20:43 PM | Updated Date: Jun 03, 2017 20:43 PM

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