New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) Concerned over media reports of the Indian Army moving two key battalions to the national capital and army chief Gen. V.K. Singh's letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on gaps in battle readiness, a parliamentary committee Wednesday raised serious questions on the functioning of the defence ministry and the armed forces.
At its pre-scheduled meeting here, MPs of the parliamentary standing committee on the defence ministry raised the two issues with Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma and Indian Army vice chief Lt. Gen. S.K. Singh, sources said.
The issues were first raised by Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) MP from Hyderabad Asaduddin Owaisi, who was supported by Congress' P.J. Kurien, Bharatiya Janata Party's Muktar Abbas Naqvi, and Rastriya Janata Dal's Ram Kripal Yadav, the sources said.
The 'issue is worrisome,' the members said of the Indian Express report.
Sources said the defence secretary and the army vice chief echoed the government's opinion on the troops' movement being nothing but a 'routine drill'.
'The (defence) secretary clarified on the issue and said such drills keep taking place,' a source said.
'The members wanted more details, as the issue has come out in the open and common people are fearing that something may happen. The chairman sought a report which will be presented to the committee by Monday (April 9),' the source said.
On the issue of the army chief's letter to the prime minister on shortage of ammunition and equipment in the forces, the committee questioned the army representatives if the situation was grim.
'They (officers) assured us that if a war-like situation arises today, the nation and the armed forces are ready to face it. But, modernisation of the defence forces is needed and the process will be complete in nearly a year-and-a-half,' the source added.
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