NEW DELHI: Describing as "disturbing" the CAG report which highlighted that the Indian Army is battling critical shortage of ammunition, especially for its tanks and artillery, the Congress on Saturday accused the NDA government of taking defence very lightly.
"The Prime Minister and his government have to answer definitely since when he assumed this office he took defence very lightly," senior Congress leader Anand Sharma told reporters.
"Now if the country is not prepared or under prepared and the requirements, the critical needs of ammunitions and spares have not been met for three years then this government is definitely in the dock," he added.
Sharma was responding to the Comptroller Auditor General report that revealed no significant improvement was made in the availability of War Wastage Reserve (WWR), which is ammunition needed to meet the requirements of 40 days of intense war or a full-scale war.
"The report of the CAG is revealing and disturbing amid tension on both the borders," Sharma said pointing out that there was a stand-off on the northern borders with China and on the western frontier with Pakistan.
He also said that on the international border and across the Line of Control there has been heavy artillery firing and exchange of firing for a long period of time.
The Congress leader said there have been attacks and cross-border attacks on Indian defence establishments and on strategic bases of the Indian Army and Air Force.
Sharma said the government has to ensure that the genuine needs of the army are met.
"And for any professional army, particularly when you have to guard such large frontiers against nuclear power neighbours, there is no room or luxury for shortages of critical spares and repairs," he said.
Lamenting that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not appointed a full-time Defence Minister, Sharma said, "India does not have a full-time Defence Minister. When he took oath there was no full-time Defence Minister. Then (Manohar) Parrikar came who was non-serious and a non-performer. Now he has gone back to Goa and again the country is back with no full-time Defence Minister."
"So it is for everyone to see concerning India's defence, and the security of our borders is not a question of politics. But we as a opposition have a duty to ask questions and we will ask questions about it," he said.
Lashing out at the government, Sharma said, "This government and Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) believes in talking all the time."