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Parl Standing Comm not to be briefed on surgical strikes

Last minute changes in the agenda of Parliamentary panel on defence has left the principal opposition party, Congress, fuming. Statement issued by Congress MPs Ambika Soni and Madhusudan Mistry, who are members of Parliamentary Standing Committee of Defence, said that the last minute change of agenda of the Standing Committee Meeting of the Defence is ‘highly unacceptable’. 

The original agenda was that the Army Officials would brief the committee members on the recently carried out surgical strikes and subsequently deliberate on the shortage of Arms and Ammunition for the Defence forces.

“This has now been changed. We believe that the agenda must have been fixed after consultation with top officials of defence ministry.   We see no reason why this has been changed and that too at the last minute. This is not the first time that the agenda of such meetings is being changed. It has happened before also,” said the letter penned by Soni and Mistry.

Expressing disappointment, both MPs further stated, “It is our firm belief that the officials should brief the standing committee members as they briefed the Leaders of the opposition parties on the above said issues (Surgical strikes). The decision, not to brief the committee over surgical strike under the garb of secrecy only amount to ‘lack of confidence’ in the Members of Parliament, who are in the committee and who are bound by the oath of secrecy.  This position is absolutely unacceptable to us.”

It is also unfortunate that we came to know about the shortage of arms and ammunition to the ‘Special Forces’, who carried out surgical strikes from newspaper reports, but the Army Officials are not ready to discuss or answer queries to be raised in the meeting of Standing Committee Members, the statement read further.

Claiming that the Defence Ministry despite repeated mentions in the committee never presented their policies and preparedness to meet emergency situations if created by the neighbouring countries nor they have come out with valid reasons for delay in acquisition of Defence equipment including arms and ammunition, the Congress MPs added that the “Make in India” initiative also seems to be a complete failure in the Defence sector. 

Congress member MPs demanded that the original agenda of the forthcoming committee meeting should be maintained and also defence officials inform the Committee about the number of Surgical strikes carried out since 2004. “It is high time, that the attitude of the Defence Officials towards the standing committee members undergoes a change for the better and committee is informed of the short comings that the Defence forces are facing in combating the adversaries on our 
borders,” added Soni and Mistry.
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