BJP slams Govt for neglecting armed forces

New Delhi: Reacting to CAG reports on defence preparedness, BJP today said army has been given World War II vintage "toy-guns" to fight nuclear powers, an issue the government is "diverting" attention from by raising the differences between the Army chief and the Defence Minister.

"The CAG report points out the serious and criminal neglect of the armed forces by the government. The army was given weapons and guns of World War II- which are like toy-guns infront of nuclear powers- and made to face China and Pakistan," BJP spokesperson Tarun Vijay said. "There can be no bigger crime than this by this government," he added.

Vijay said this report was not the first one to indict the Congress-led government on neglect of the defence forces. "Two earlier CAG reports have also pointed to anomalies like shortcoming in the navy, buying of old weapons. Artillery guns which should have been bought in 2007 had not been bought till 2011," he said.

BJP demanded that the government issue a clarification and inform the people about its future course of action. The main opposition party alleged that instead of dealing with these shortcomings in the preparedness of defence forces, the government is trying to divert attention from them.

"There is no debate on the information given in the CAG report and the letter written by the Army Chief on how the army was weakened, old weapons were bought after much delay and buying of World War II and 1970s weapons. Instead the debate is being diverted towards the Army Chief, on how a few units of the army marched towards Delhi," Vijay said.

BJP charged that this was a diversionary tactic on the part of the government. "By engaging in this debate (about troop movement to Delhi), the government is running away from the main issue. This is an escapist government which has the criminal record of betraying the army and giving it toy-guns to fight at the borders," Vijay alleged.

He also referred to Army Chief V K Singh`s letter to the Prime Minister, saying a "depressed and hurt chief" had pointed out these shortcomings and requested him to look into the matter. However, the government leaked the letter and brought the debate to a new low, he alleged. Asked why the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), headed by a BJP member, had not looked into the anomalies pointed out by the CAG, Vijay said the Parliamentary Panel will clear the air on the issue if it feels the need to do so.