Accusing Narendra Modi government of endangering India’s security infrastructure and using armed forces as “political fodder”, the Congress latched on to a report of a Parliamentary panel headed by BJP veteran B C Khanduri and targeted PM Modi for the neglect of the Armed forces by making the lowest allocation to the defence ministry in terms of percentage of the GDP since 1962.
Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi asked: “Is Modi government endangering our ‘security infrastructure’? Is it guilty of putting the life of our soldiers in danger? Are they using our soldiers as ‘political fodder’ – using their sacrifice for vote garnering?
The Congress said the government has failed to provide them with the most “fundamental resources to perform their gruelling duties”.
Citing a parliamentary report, Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi said: “In a scathing indictment of the Modi government, Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen. Sarath Chand had testified to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence, headed by Major General B.C. Khanduri, and exposed a shameful state of neglect towards the requirements of our armed forces.”
“He (Chand) has reiterated the fact that only 8 per cent of our equipment is state-of-the-art, 68 per cent is vintage … there’s not enough resources to undertake the construction of strategic roads on China border and ‘Make in India’ scheme in Defence has completely failed,” she said in a statement.
“The Modi government has failed in its most basic and fundamental obligation, i.e. to ensure that our armed forces are provided with the most fundamental resources to perform their gruelling duties,” she added.
Chaturvedi said that the implications of this expose for national security are far-reaching.
“Our soldiers sacrifice their lives daily. 280 Jawans have been martyred in Jammu and Kashmir (since 2014) and 243 martyred in Naxal attacks (since 2015).
“The Maoist attack which led to the martyrdom of six Jaguar jawans proves that Modi government has messed up the security infrastructure,” she added.
Attacking the government, Chaturvedi said: “There is no money to buy weapons and equipment. The morale of armed forces is the lowest due to the step-motherly treatment meted out to them by the BJP government, and constant degradation and down gradation of ranks.”
“A clear testimony to this fact is that in Union Budget 2018-19, Defence got just 1.58 per cent of GDP, lowest allocation since 1962. Our armed forces are staring at a crisis caused by an unqualified government,” she said.
She said that the budget allocation on defence should be done judiciously and ready-to-attack and state-of-the-art weapons should be immediately made available to the armed forces.