Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday said a CAG report that criticised the force for delay in procurement of special clothing for soldiers serving in high altitude areas, including Siachen, is a "little outdated" as it pertains to 2015-16.
The Army is very well prepared today, he asserted.
The report by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), which was tabled in Parliament on Monday, pulled up the Army for delay in procurement of clothing, equipment, snow goggles and multi-purpose boots that are required to be provided to soldiers serving in high altitude areas.
After meeting a group of 30 journalism students of Abasaheb Garware College here, General Naravane told reporters, "If you look at the CAG report carefully, it pertains to 2015-16. So, it is not a report about the present times. So, it is a little outdated in that sense."
"But I would like to assure you that as of today, in 2020, we are very well prepared and every jawan who goes to Siachen gets personal clothing worth approximately Rs 1 lakh. That is the kind of preparation we do for each and every soldier who goes there," he added.
On the marginal hike in the defence budget, the Army chief said, "Defence budget has got a modest increase of 8 per cent year on year. We will be studying how to manage this budget and how to make full use of it. And we will continue to modernise."
"Notwithstanding what budget allocations are made, in the last year itself we have inducted more than four-five different kind of weapons, weapon systems and platforms. So, modernisation has never been an issue," he said.
The defence budget was increased to Rs 3.37 lakh crore for 2020-21 against last year's Rs 3.18 lakh crore, belying expectations of a significantly enhanced allocation to fast-track long-pending military modernisation.