After CAG Report, Sources Say Critical Ammo To Start Arriving In Weeks
A day after the country’s top auditor told parliament that the Army is significantly short on ammunition, sources have confirmed to NDTV that supplies of critical ammo for tanks and artillery guns will start flowing in from early next month. The Army by the end of next year will likely come close to meeting its requirement for 40 days of war wastage reserves of ammunition – the ideal stockpile the Army needs to fight 40 days of an intensive war – sources have said.
The world’s second-largest standing army is woefully short on ammunition and there hasn’t been a remarkable change in the last few years, the Comptroller and Auditor General told parliament on Friday. The shortage dents the Army’s ability to sustain a war for a long period, the report said.
Reacting to the report, sources told NDTV that several types of ammunition and fuses which are in short supply are presently at the pre-dispatch inspection stage before they are exported to India by foreign suppliers.
Sources also said that the report does not account for 12,000 crores of orders that have been placed last year after the Uri terror attack on an Army base in Kashmir. The report also does not consider first and second line ammunition that is already deployed on the frontline or kept at the formation level to be supplied to troops on the frontline should it be required in the event of a conflict.
Friday’s report lamented that despite highlighting “serious concerns” in its earlier report, “no significant improvement took place in the critical deficiency in availability and quality of ammunition… since March 2013”.
The state-run Ordnance Factory Board, or OFB, supplies nearly 90 per cent of the Army’s requirement of ammunition. Of the remaining instances where the ammunition had to be bought from elsewhere, the audit report said most cases initiated by the Army Headquarters from 2009 were still pending.
The audit findings, however, comes days after the government gave the Army’s Vice Chief Lt General Sarath Chand to directly procure 46 types of ammunition to fight short and “intense wars” without going to the defence ministry. Also, the government had last year cleared emergency procurement of weaponry worth 20,000 crores after the Uri terror attack on September 18, last year.