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Shivshankar Menon says public debate on defence preparedness inappropriate

New Delhi, Tue, 03 Apr 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Apr 3 (ANI): National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon has said it is not appropriate to debate on defence preparedness and acquisition process in the public domain due to its sensitive repercussions.

Menon made these comments on the sidelines of a seminar on India's national security- challenges and issues here.

Drawing attention to the recent controversies including that of the Army Chief General V. K. Singh, and his allegations of being offered 2.7 million dollars, Menon said such sensitive issues hurt the morale of the armed forces.

"In the recent past we have seen several doubts being raised in public about our defence preparedness and our acquisition process. Debate on these issues is healthy within government and it must lead to our constantly learning from our own experience but public debate on such issues which are sensitive must have some limits and especially when it starts affecting national morale or it gets comforts to our enemies. It crosses the limit with what is acceptable and it must be held accountable," he added.

He further said that persisted gaps in defence preparedness are currently being addressed.

"India is as secure as the dedicated services of generations of us in the military forces, in the civil services and in public life can make her and this will certainly improve in the future. If there are gaps in our preparedness, they are being addressed and will be filled and no one should be misled with partial revelations or individual views into underestimating this country's capabilities and determination," Menon added.

Recently, General Singh had issued a brief statement in which he claimed that attempts were being made to tar his image.

According to reports, a letter that he had sent to the Prime Minister's Office on March 12, had asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take suitable steps to enhance the nation's defence preparedness.

He claimed that the army's tanks are "devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks" and air defence is "97 percent obsolete and it doesn't give the deemed confidence to protect...from the air."

The controversy is the latest in a series involving the army chief after his date of birth row with the government.

General Singh has been in the news this week for his claims of being offered a bribe of Rs.14 crore to clear a tranche of 600 sub-standard equipment for the army. (ANI)

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