New Delhi: In the backdrop of the controversy over troop movement towards the national capital in January, BJP on Thursday batted for Army Chief V K Singh, saying his loyalty should not be questioned even as it demanded the government remove the trust deficit with the army and improve defence preparedness.

"There cannot be any room for speculation on our armed forces. There cannot be any occasion to question the army and the army chief's loyalty. We cannot have reports questioning their loyalty," BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.

She was referring to the controversy over a newspaper report y on Wednesday on movement of two military units to Delhi on the night of January 16. While the army has described it as a routine exercise, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had termed the report as "alarmist" and Defence Minister A K Antony dismissed it as "baseless".

Sitharaman insisted government should take all steps to bring more transparency in defence deals as well as do away with the allegedly slow pace of modernisation of the forces and procurement of weapons and equipment.

"BJP wishes to state in this context that steps should be taken to bring greater transparency and keeping this process above board.We cannot afford middlemen working on these deals," she said.

The party also demanded that the government take immediate measures to redress the trust deficit with the army.

"The civilian leadership should respect the army and also bring back the confidence," Sitharaman said.

The party also said there cannot be any compromise on preparedness of the armed forces due to the prevalent "policy paralysis" in the government.

"The morale of the army should be kept high. As for their resources, they should be adequately endowed. The government should show due statesmanship and keep preparedness at its best," Sitharaman said.

(Agencies)