Gen Vijay Kumar Singh, who has managed to raise several controversies over the last couple of months, has created a fresh one by writing a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh warning that the country's security is at risk due to outdated fighting equipment.
In his letter dated 12 March, revealed today, Gen Singh told the PM that the Army's tank regiments lack sufficient ammunition to face an enemy, the air defence is obsolete and the infantry, including elite special forces, are woefully short of critical weapons. The letter emphasises the need to bridge the shortcomings and bring the army to fighting level.
Gen Singh says that 97 per cent of the air defences are obsolete. The letter, sent to the Prime Minister's Office, asks Manmohan Singh to ''pass suitable directions to enhance the preparedness of the Army''.
The letter has been unveiled to sections of the media in the midst the Army chief's allegation on Monday that he was offered a Rs14-crore bribe to clear a deal for substandard vehicles.
Gen Singh wrote that the Army's entire tank fleet was devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks. He also added that the air defence was ''97 per cent obsolete and it doesn't give the deemed confidence to protect from the air''; the infantry has ''deficiencies of crew-served weapons'' and lacks night fighting capabilities; and that the elite special forces were ''woefully short of essential weapons''.
The Army chief said that the ''hollowness'' in the system is a manifestation of the procedures and processing time for procurements as well as legal impediments by vendors. He further said that the work quality was poor and there was a ''lack of urgency at all levels'' on matters of national security.