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Modi govt has compromised national security, not provided adequate resources to armed forces: Cong


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Modi government has compromised national security by not providing adequate resources and state-of-the-art equipment to the armed forces, the Congress alleged today.
Referring to the death of six Jharkhand police personnel in a Naxal attack yesterday, the party also alleged that the government had "messed up the security infrastructure".
"Is the Modi government endangering our security infrastructure? Is the Modi government guilty of putting the life of our soldiers in danger? Is the Modi government using our 'soldiers' as 'political fodder', using their sacrifice for vote garnering?" Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi asked at a press conference here.
The Congress leader said these important questions are being asked by the people of the country and alleged that the Modi government was unwilling to answer them.
In a scathing indictment of the Modi government, former Vice Chief of the Army Staff Lt Gen. Sarath Chand, who retired recently, had testified to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence headed by Major General B C Khanduri and "exposed a shameful state of neglect" towards requirements of the armed forces, she claimed.
"He has reiterated the fact that only eight per cent of our equipment is state-of-the-art, 24 per cent stands in the current and 68 per cent is vintage (categories); that it cannot pay for emergency weapons purchase, that there was not enough resources to undertake the construction of strategic roads on the China border and the 'Make in India' scheme in Defence has completely failed," she said.
The implications of this expose on national security are far-reaching, the Congress spokesperson said.
"Never having been averse to taking credit for the armed forces victories and accomplishments, it has now been proven beyond all doubt that the Modi government has failed in its most basic and fundamental obligation i.e. to ensure that our armed forces are provided with the most fundamental resources to perform their gruelling duties," the spokesperson said.
Chaturvedi said the Congress party in its Plenary Session in March had raised this important and sensitive issue, but there has been no adequate response by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Congress leader said military and paramilitary personnel sacrifice their lives daily, and 280 jawans have been killed in Jammu and Kashmir since 2014 and 243 in Naxal attacks since 2015.
Yesterday's Naxal attack in which six Jharkhand Jaguar jawans were killed proves that the Modi government has "messed up the security infrastructure", Chaturvedi said.
"There is no money to buy weapons and equipment; media reports have reflected and called the Indian Army' as broke'. The morale of the armed forces is the lowest due to the step motherly treatment meted out to them by the BJP government and constant degradation and down-gradation of ranks.
"A clear testimony to this fact is... that in Budget 2018-19, Defence got just 1.58 pc of GDP, lowest allocation since 1962," she alleged.
Citing the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, she said , the report has stated that a bulk of the Army's equipment is "vintage".
The report also highlighted that the Army had requested for Rs 33,066.88 crore and Rs 34,209.01 crore at the supplementary stages for modernisation, but the Ministry of Finance did not make any additional allocations, Chaturvedi alleged.
"The sheer apathy of this government that works overtime to conceal its functioning and prides itself on being headed by a prime minister with a 56-inch chest stands exposed," she said.
"What makes the above worse is that the PMO was aware of the problems with regard to the need for modernisation and did nothing despite his urgent intervention being sought. This is attested to by the Standing Committee's 37th Report which reproduces the communications with the Ministry of Defence," she also said.
It is now clear that the PMO was briefed on the issue over a year ago and has done absolutely nothing, the Congress leader claimed.
"The above points to a "clueless PMO, a Finance Ministry completely disconnected from the reality of national security and an army left to fend for itself," she said.
"One thing is clear. Our armed forces (the Army, the Navy and the Air Force) are staring at a crisis caused by an unpathetic and unqualified government. Of all the stains on his already withering legacy of the Modi government, this one will be the hardest to wash off," the spokesperson said.

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First Published: Jun 27 2018 | 9:55 PM IST

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