New Delhi, April 6: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its report to Parliament had said Indian artillery was "obsolete" months before the Army Chief Gen V K Singh on March 12 wrote to the PM about the sorry state of readiness of Indian armed forces.
The Times of India today published excerpts from the CAG report. Here are some of the excerpts: "At present the artillery arm of Indian Army comprises of regiments holding a mix of various gun systems whose technology ranges from World War-II and those developed in the 1970s".
Indian artillery, in other words, was obsolete, the CAG said.
The CAG report said it in as many words: "Artillery guns of modern technology could not be made available to the troops for over a decade for replacing the existing guns of obsolete technology of 1970 vintage.
Acquisition of artillery guns included in the 10th Army Plan has not materialized till now.
"The abnormal delay in procurement of the new guns had not only impacted the operational preparedness of the Army but also resulted in substantial cost overrun."
The CAG's report on defence preparedness in December 2011 not only painted an overall grim picture, it went on to give regiment-wise and weapon-wise details of how the Army lacks the firepower that, by government's admission, it must have.
Stressing that the country has not acquired heavy artillery after the controversial purchase of Bofors 155mm howitzers in 1986, the CAG says: "Self-propelled guns are required to provide continuous fire support to mechanized formations, which normally operate cross-country in plains and deserts ... The Indian Army is presently holding SP guns with technology of 1970s.
"Acquisition of quantity 'X' of 155mm 52 calibre towed guns and self-propelled guns (wheeled/tracked) was included in the 10th Army Plan (2002-07) but could not materialize as of October 2010 ... This was to be replaced by the Army for its existing force level of 105mm/122mm/130mm guns of obsolete technology."
Another CAG report on the Indian Navy was tabled in Parliament in the monsoon session last year, and once again ignored by the public accounts committee. That talks of India's lack of competitiveness in sea warfare.
"The Navy followed a flawed approach in acquiring its new fighter aircraft fleet by not finalizing the associated weapon package with the contract for it.
" Eleven out of 16 MiG 29K aircraft, acquired at a cost of $740 million (Rs 3,400 crore) have been delivered in December 2009 and May 2011. No item of armament contracted for in March 2006 has been delivered as of October 2010 adversely affecting the operational capabilities."
The CAG report flies in the face of accusations from MPs that the Army chief's letter to PM leaked out sensitive facts, whereas the fact remains that the CAG report was in the public domain for several months now, but the Public Accounts Committee headed by BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi was yet to take them up for scrutiny.