News

Leaked Letter Reveals Indian Army Weaknesses

Indian army soldiers ride on T-72 tanks during the main Republic Day parade in New Delhi, January 26, 2012.
Indian army soldiers ride on T-72 tanks during the main Republic Day parade in New Delhi, January 26, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha

The head of India’s army says obsolete defense equipment and a shortage of weapons have weakened the country’s defense capabilities.

The comment, reflecting tense relations between the army and the government, was made in a letter written to the prime minister in which army chief V.K. Singh described the state of major fighting forces such as the artillery and infantry “alarming.”

On Wednesday, the Indian DNA newspaper published excerpts of the leaked letter dated March 12.

The army chief said India’s tank fleet is "devoid of critical ammunition" and its air defense system is 97 percent obsolete. The infantry, he said, is crippled with deficiencies and lacks night fighting equipment, while the elite forces are “woefully short” of essential weapons.” India, which has fought wars with both Pakistan and China, has the world’s second largest standing army.

In parliament, where the leaked letter was debated, Defense Minister A.K. Antony said the government gives the highest priority to security preparedness.

“Our defense preparedness has always been strong and I can assure this house and the nation that it is our intention to keep it strong," said Antony. "Government has spared no effort and will do everything necessary to ensure that our defense forces are provided, equipped and trained to be among the best fighting forces in the world.”

For once, there was no acrimony in parliament as opposition lawmakers rallied around the government, saying such issues should not be in the domain of public debate.

The head of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party in the Upper House, Arun Jaitley, said he was confident the government would address concerns regarding the preparedness of the armed forces.

“I am sure the defense minister will look into all those facts and make sure wherever there are any shortcomings, he would make sure they are plugged,” Jaitley said.

Lawmakers demanded to know how the letter had been leaked. Some called for the army chief’s resignation, if he was behind it.

The letter comes as the army chief’s relations with civilian authorities have hit a low point in recent months following a face-off with the government about his age of retirement.

He said he was younger than military records showed, but lost the case in the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, he said he had been offered a $ 2.8 million bribe to buy substandard trucks for the army.

Defense analysts say it is well known that India’s armed forces need to be modernized. The government is spending billions of dollars to buy new equipment and weapons, but critics say the upgrading has been slow.

In 2007, India took over from China as the world's biggest importer.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs