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Service chiefs to depose before parliamentary panel

New Delhi(IANS): Taking serious note of the gaps in defence preparedness, a parliamentary panel Monday summoned the three armed forces chiefs to depose before it April 19-20 to clarify the actual state of their readiness in case of a war.

File PhotoThe summons by the parliamentary standing committee on defence, headed by Congress MP Satpal Maharaj, was sent after members, cutting across party lines, wanted to known the present state of affairs as far as India’s defence preparedness is concerned.

A source in the panel said the summons were issued “for the three services chiefs to attend and depose before the meeting of the committee on April 19 and 20.”

This comes a fortnight after a “top secret” March 12 letter from Indian Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh on deficiencies in the equipment of key fighting units such as infantry, artillery and armoured were highlighted got leaked to the media a fortnight ago.

The parliamentary panel had taken serious note of the gaps in the armed forces’ weapon systems and sought an explanation from army vice chief Lt. Gen. Shri Krishna Singh Monday.

This is the second time in a week that the army vice chief had deposed before the panel.Earlier in the day, Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma had told the panel that the media reports of two key army units moving towards the national capital without prior notice raising an alarm among the top brass of the nation’s security was a wrong inference made of a routine military training drill.

The source said Sharma also told the panel that the army had not violated any standard operating procedure and that there was no need for any prior notice to the government for such an exercise to be carried out.

Sharma too was deposing before the panel for the second time in a week and he was asked to clarify a report in the Indian Express last week that claimed two key army units — units from an armoured division in Hisar and a para troopers brigade in Agra — had moved towards Delhi, ‘spooking’ Raisina Hills, the seat of the Indian government.

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