BJP seeks PM statement on defence preparedness

New Delhi, May 1: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday sought an explanation from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a parliament panel reported that country lacked defence preparedness.

The Standing Committee on Defence endorsed Army Chief General Vijay Kumar Singh’s claim of their being a huge gulf in the operational capabilities of the 1.13-million strong force in his confidential letter to Prime Minister Singh.

The army chief had written that the tank fleet of the world’s second-largest standing army was devoid of ammunition, elite special forces were “woefully short” of essential weapons and air defence was 97 percent obsolete.

The committee has directed the Defence Ministry to address issues of acquisition of ammunition, tanks, guns and other critical areas.

“We want a statement from the government, especially from the Prime Minister, on the issue so that the country could be assured that India is safe and India is ready to meet any challenge,” said BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy here.

The BJP also expressed condolence to the families, who lost their dear ones, in a boat tragedy in Assam in which more than 100 people lost their lives.

“The Bharatiya Janata Party expresses condolence to the bereaved families. We are confident that the federal government and the Assam government will provide compensation to the such families and would act on it,” added Rudy.

The BJP also sought an explanation from the Prime Minister Singh about scope of the treaty with Switzerland signed in 2011, regarding black money.

“Is this treaty applicable to last 50 years? When money was deposited in Swiss banks or it is related to deposits after the treaty was signed. The Bharatiya Janata Party wants an explanation from the government, especially from the Prime Minister, on the issue,” added Rudy.

A government panel in 2009 found illicit funds to range between $500 billion and what is now the size of India’s economy of 1.4 trillion dollars.

India is the world’s ninth most corrupt country, with 54 percent of the population paying a bribe in the last 12 months, according to a report by Transparency International.

Corruption may cost India between 1 and 2 percent of gross domestic product ever year.(ANI)