FALSE ALARM

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 13 Aug 2017 11:11:11

THE panic created among the people following the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) that the defence forces have ammunition that can last only for 20 days in an event of a war should subside with the Defence Minister Mr. Arun Jaitley rejecting the CAG report. The CAG report, which came when the situation on border with China was tense following its tough posturing over Dok La issue, has led to a panicky situation among the people. Mr. Jaitley has done right by allaying the fears and clearing the air over the CAG report. The Defence Minister has made it clear that the report had talked about the shortage of ammunition during a particular point of time and significant progress has been done since then by the Government.

In any case, it was highly improbable that India, which has the fourth strongest Armed Forces in the world, would be so careless on the ammunition front, that too at a time when it is facing security threats from Pakistan and China. Evaluation of the overall security situation and preparedness of the Armed Forces goes on continuously. Even during peace time, Armed Forces are always busy honing their skills by conducting training and military exercises with friendly countries on land, air and at sea. The Armed Forces strictly follow the motto - The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. Therefore, even though the CAG report has raised concern over shortage of ammunition, for many, it was difficult to take it on its face value.

This is not an attempt to trash the CAG reports altogether. The CAG has, no doubt, exposed several scams and irregularities in Government undertakings in the past, prodding the authorities to take corrective steps. The CAG report regarding shortage of ammunition pertained to a particular period and corrective steps have already been taken by the Government. The stand-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers at Dok La has triggered a debate over the preparedness of our Armed Forces, vis-a-vis China. The CAG report of ammunition shortage instilled a sense of fear among the people. However, Mr. Jaitley’s words should allay the fears now.