HYDERABAD: Reacting sharply to reports that he had deployed off-the-air interceptors for clandestinely listening to important phone conversations related to his age row, Army chief General VK Singh on Monday dismissed them as “fiction” and hit out at the media. “Fiction does not require any reaction. If people concoct stories and some irresponsible editors allow those stories to get published, I don't think it requires any reaction," he said.
Gen Singh was in city for the launch of the book North East Trilogy, written by Kunal Verna and Dipti Bhalla. He called for a better link between the seven north-eastern states and the rest of the country and said that the book would be translated into seven languages to improve awareness about the states. Later speaking to reporters, he revealed that he had requested the government for final orders related to his retirement in May and congratulated his successor.
On queries concerning his letter to the Defence ministry over shortage of ammunition, Gen Singh said he had apprised the ministry of the status of various inventories. "The Raksha rajya mantri is aware. Our efforts in the last two years have been to ensure that operational preparedness of the Army improves. Periodically, we have been telling the ministry as to how things are going, what are the shortages and what needs to be done," he said. Talking about China's latest military budget exceeding $100 billion, Gen Singh said the Army looked at all aspects of threats. "What China announced is their perspective on requirements. There is no need for speculation."
Minister of State for defence MM Pallam Raju said that India too was planning to increase its budgetary allocation for defence.
“We formulate our budget and our defence spending based on the perception of security. There are internal challenges and challenges of living in a neighbourhood. The 12th Five-Year Plan has envisoned higher defence budget spending ($100 billion) and we are improvising on aquisition of capabilities, increasing public sector manufacturing and encouraging private sector participation. We need not compare with others’ spending since every country spends in tune with its security perception,” he said.