Never called CAG report false: Defence Minister

Never called CAG report false: Defence Minister

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday denied she had dubbed as false a Comptroller and Auditor General report on shortage of ammunition for the troops.

“I never commented on the CAG report,” said Sitharaman, who on Monday visited Sir Creek, a tidal estuary that flows into the Arabian Sea and separates Gujarat from Sindh province in Pakistan.

A report on Sunday had quoted Sitharaman as allegedly calling the national auditor’s report on ammunition shortage as “factually wrong”.

“Buying ammunition is a continuous process. The process is on. Sometimes, you think something has to be bought in more quantity. Sometimes, you are trying to fill the gaps,” she said.

“Sir Creek is an important place for national security, including of Gujarat. I am visiting Sir Creek to see what more needs to be done for the protection of the area,” Sitharaman said.

A CAG report said that 55 per cent ammunition used by the Indian Army would not last long to meet the minimum operational requirements.

For the remaining 45 per cent, the army has stock which could be put to use for a maximum of 10 days in case of an “intense war”, the report added.

The report also pointed towards insufficient steps taken after 2013 to improve on ammunition stock for the armed forces. As per the operational requirement target set for 2019, the Army should be equipped with ammunition that could last 40 days of intense war.

Sitharaman’s predecessor Arun Jaitley, speaking on the report on multiple occasions, had said that the Indian forces are prepared to face any contingency, adding that the report was in reference to a particular point in time, and since then progress has been made.

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