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India-China Doklam standoff : CAG report exposes vulnerability of Army, Navy
Source: The Sangai Express / (With agency inputs)

New Delhi, July 22 2017: In early June, Army Chief General Bipin Rawat had said, “Indian Army is fully ready for a two and a half front war.” A week after his statement, standoff between Indian Army and the People’s Liberation Army of China intensified over Doklam plateau in Bhutan .

China has been strengthening its force build up in Tibet for what is being speculated as a short duration war with India to prove its hegemony in the region and keep its expansionist policy going.

China has now also called Ladakh a disputed territory .

Indian Army jawans are in eyeball encounter with the Chinese soldiers in Doklam.

At such a critical junction, the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has raised serious concerns about India’s defence preparedness .

The CAG report, tabled in Parliament yesterday, said that the ammunition stock of the Indian Army would exhaust after 10 days of war .

The CAG has scathingly said in its report that the situation has not improved since 2013.The CAG has been flagging the deficiency of ammunition in the event of war for four years.

China might have taken the note of the past analysis of the CAG before it readied itself for a short duration war with India over Doklam .

Unlike previous military standoff in border regions, Chinese have been unusually aggressive this time.

In fact, Chinese foreign office mentioned about 1962 war after decades .

No improvement despite warning
India has 41 ordnance factories run by the Indian Ordnance Factories organisation under the Ministry of Defence.

Ordnance factories are responsible for supplying ammunition to the Indian defence forces .

The Ordnance Factories boast of their “unique distinction of over 200 years experience in defence production”, “quality of products and services” and are engaged in “production, testing, logistics, research, development and marketing of a comprehensive product range in the area of land, sea and air systems.” They claim that “undoubtedly, we are the force behind armed forces.” But, the CAG report criticised the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for “inadequate quality of ammunition supplied to the Army since March 2013.”
A high-level report on ‘Ammunition management in Army’ in 2015 had highlighted the concerns about quality and volume of supplies from the ordnance factories.

But, the CAG said no significant improvement took place in the critical deficiency in availability of ammunition and quality of ammunition supplied by the OFB .

“Shortfall in meeting the production target by OFB continued.

Further, majority of the procurement cases from other than OFB which were initiated by Army headquarters during 2009-13 were pending as of January 2017,” reads the CAG report .

What ails Indian Navy
The CAG report indicates that it is not only the Indian Army but even the Indian Navy lacks in critical areas of safety and defence preparedness .

The CAG noted that Indian Navy’s ships and submarines were involved in 38 accidents between 2007-08 and 2015-16.These numbers are high for a modern navy adversely affecting the operational preparedness of the force .

The CAG said that the accidents occurred due to fire, explosion and flooding signaling that the Indian Navy did not have institutionalised framework to deal with safety issues.

A dedicated ‘Safety Organisation’ for dealing with safety issues was setup by the Indian Navy in 2014.However, the Government has not yet given its sanction to this organisation .

The CAG has noted in its report that the loss of a ship and submarine adversely affects the operational preparedness of the Indian Navy as acquisition of new ships and submarines takes more than eight to 10 years .

This becomes a critical aspect of defence preparedness given that China has been strengthening its naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

China has only recently opened its naval base in Djibouti.

It is already present in Pakistan, near Myanmar coast, in Bangladesh and in talks with Sri Lanka .

On the other hand, the Indian Navy, as the CAG report points out, has caused “inordinate delay in construction of four anti-submarine warfare corvettes.” Further, two of the four warships delivered to the Navy have not been fitted with required weapons and sensor systems due to which they cannot perform to full potential as envisaged, the CAG report said.


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