New Delhi: Amidst raging controversy over Army Chief General VK Singh’s letter to the Prime Minister claiming poor preparedness of the army in defending the nation from external, the army is seriously focusing on its modernisation with air defence as the top priority for the current fiscal.       

The Army's emphasis on upgradation is in view of "threat perspective" visualised by the force because of China's military modernisation and its continued support to Pakistan, including infrastructure development in Northern Areas.

The Army has allocated 21 percent of the Rs 18,828 crore funds for capital acquisition for the Army Air Defence while 17 percent and 15 percent have been earmarked for Artillery and Infantry, respectively.

For the modernisation of the Mechanised Forces, 14 percent of the funds have been allocated, according to the presentation made by Vice Chief of Army Staff Lt Gen S K Singh before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence.

In the 22-page presentation, the Army Vice Chief told the Committee that it will require additional funds for its modernisation plans and the demand for same would be projected as per requirement, sources said.

The Army Chief had highlighted deficiences and shortcomings in the country's armoury in his letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on March 12.

In letter which was leaked, the Army Chief had stated that 97 percent of the Air Defence System was obsolete and the armoured regiments were short of ammunition. The letter had also pointed out the shortage of equipment faced by Special Forces of the Army.

The Artillery modernisation programme has suffered a lot in the last over two decades as not a single piece of howitzer has been inducted in the last 25 years after the Bofors gun deal scam.

In the detailed presentation, the Army Vice Chief mentioned that the procurements were needed because of "threat perspectives", the sources said.

Among the threat perspectives, he listed China's military modernisation and its continued support to Pakistan, including infrastructure development in Northern Areas under Pakistani control.

Describing Pakistan as the "epicentre of terror", the presentation said it was continuing its support to the proxy war against India and was keeping the terrorist infrastructure on its soil intact.

(JPN/Agencies)