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Modernisation of artillery has been hampered, says Army Chief

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Indian Army gunners in action. A file photo.

NEW DELHI: Against the backdrop of the Bofors gun deal controversy, Indian Army Chief General V K Singh Thursday said the modernisation of the artillery has been hampered, for which he blamed both military and civilian authorities.

"There have been faults, some in uniform and some out of uniform. Now we are on track to ensure that this mismatch that has happened over a period of time is amended," Singh told reporters here.

The Army chief was asked if he was concerned about the artillery modernisation against the backdrop of the recent developments after the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal said that kickbacks of Rs 41 crore were paid to late Win Chaddha and Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi in the Howitzer deal in the 1980s.

Despite several attempts, cancellation of tenders due to various reasons has not allowed the Army to induct any new artillery gun in the last 25 years after the controversy surrounding the Bofors guns snow-balled into a big political issue since the late 80s.

Hoping that the Army would shortly do away with the deficiencies, Singh said the country was capable of winning a war even with the artillery guns presently available in its inventory.

The Army presently uses a mix of 105 mm field and 130 and 155 mm medium artillery guns for carrying out its tasks and has plans to acquire over 2000 howitzers of different calibres including ultra-light, self-propelled and towed guns.

Asked about the reports suggesting possibility of arrest of former Army chiefs in the Adarsh Cooperative Housing scam, Singh said, "Whatever the CBI has done, I am not aware of it. But whenever they want somebody, we are giving full support. Army's aim is that no bad hat, if he has done something, should escape."

"Whatever is happening is against a minuscule number and it will not have any impact on the morale of the Army. We are insulated from it," he added.


India  Army  Artillery  
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