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National security is not a matter for public debate: Gov to General VK Singh

The government’s strategy in dealing with the allegations made by Army chief General VK Singh seems to be to attack the fact that the allegations have been made public.

While minister of state Pallam Raju said matters of defence preparedness should not have been made a matter of public debate, another cabinet minister, Vayalar Ravi, called his actions those of a frustrated individual.

General VK Singh, due to retire in two months, had written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 12 that the country’s security might be at risk as tanks are running out of ammunition, air defence is going obsolete and the infantry is operating without critical weapons.

The letter was published in the newspaper DNA, following which the opposition parties raised the matter in the Parliament.

The publication of the letter follows a media interview by the outgoing chief of army VK Singh in which he alluded to how the entire defence procurement system in the country was under the grips of agents and middlemen.

“It is not something that is for public debate.. The gaps that are there, the government will address them,” minister of state for defence Pallam Raju said.

“Whatever he does are the actions of a frustrated individual,” said Vayalar Ravi.

Meanwhile, defence minister AK Antony said the government has got the letter and will address the issues raised. “By their very nature, such issues cannot form the subject of public debate,” he told the Parliament today.

VK Singh had said that the present “hollowness” in the system is a result of the procedures and processing time for procurements as well as legal impediments by vendors.

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