NEW DELHI: Continuing to counter Army Chief General V K Singh’s claims of poor military preparedness, Defence Minister A K Antony on Tuesday described the ammunition shortage reports as ‘rumours’.
After contending in the Annual Defence Report 2011-12 that the Army was in the pink of health with all the modernisation programmes on track, Antony said that the country was fully prepared to meet any challenge though the force’s requirements were not met completely.
“These are all rumours,” Antony said in response to a pointed query if there was only four days’ ammunition left with the Army.
“I can assure you that the country is fully prepared.
India is in much stronger position compared to the past. There may always be some shortcomings that is also in the process of filling up,” he added.
Antony said, “You can expect 100 per cent requirement fulfilled and there are also entire forces not in the front...on the whole the Indian Armed Forces are now well prepared and they are in a better position to meet any challenges to our integrity.” The Army’s armoured piercing tank ammunition depleted critically following the blacklisting of the Israeli Firm IMI. The force had been dependent on the firm for its ammunition after the Ordnance Factory Board’s ammunition failed to clear the trial tests. As the Ministry of Defence put all the dealings with IMI “on hold” following corruption charges, the Army did not know how to meet the shortage.
The force turned to its patron Russia for 60,000 rounds, as its reserves dipped below the critical mark of 10,000 rounds. The Russians reportedly quoted a price 800 times higher and the Army placed an order for 16,000 rounds for immediate requirement in December 2010.