New Delhi: Newly appointed defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman did not want to explicitly comment on CAG’s earlier report on shortage of enough ammunitions for the troops. However, she shared some facts before the press to make their own judgement whether CAG report can be factually incorrect or not.
Nirmala Sitharaman said, “Just look at the huge amount of explosives investigative officers have recovered from Dera Sacha Sauda headquarter in mere three days of raid. My team is saying this much explosives would last at least for seven days in case of an intense war.”
“So, a baba despite making two underground tunnels had enough resources to purchase this much explosives and you are assuming our army has only ammunition to fight an intense war only for ten days. Ok, let me leave it for you all to make your own conclusion. I hope our neighboring countries would also take a ‘proper’ note of this,” said Nirmala Sitharaman
Ms. Sitharaman went on to add, “like counting of old notes by RBI, buying of arms and ammunitions is a continuous process. Whenever we see there is a gap we fill it like we introduced 200 rupees note as the gap from 100 to 500 was too much. Similarly, in arms case if we see there is a gap we will fill it immediately.”
To our question on how much of that gap is filled, Ms. Sitharaman said, “Counting is not over, but the gap will not be more than 1 percent I think.”
Some of the press people looked perplexed with the way Ms. Sitharaman was linking demonetization with army’s ammunition. Later one of the defence official without revealing his identity told us, “As you know, though Ma’am took oath few days back, Jaitley sir kept the portfolio till end of his recent Japan trip. The preparation material for this press interview was prepared by Jaitley sir, that’s why he has mixed finance and defence job. This is last time, now we have full-fledged defence minister. From next conference, you will not see any link with finance ministry jobs.”