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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora