New Delhi: Stunned by the letter written by Army Chief Gen V K Singh to the Prime Minister pointing out a shortage of arms and ammunition in the armed forces, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned twice till 12 noon on Wednesday.

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Although Defence Minister A K Antony assured to respond on the issue but at an ‘appropriate time'. He said, "I have made serious note of the observations... After consulting the Prime Minister and colleagues, we will take appropriate action."

According to reports, the Army Chief had written the letter on March 12, 2012, stating that army tanks in the country have run out of ammunition. The letter highlighted the need to bridge the shortcomings and bring the army to fighting level. He had written, the air defence is "97 percent obsolete" and the infantry is crippled with "deficiencies of crew served weapon" and lacks "night fighting" capabilities.
 
The members agitated on the issue terming it as "disturbing" and "serious" and demanded that the government should take action against those responsible "whatever position he holds".

In the Rajya Sabha, opposition members were charged up on the issue as soon as the house met for the day.

As the Rajya Sabha session started, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader M Venkaiah Naidu said, “The Army Chief has written a secret letter about the serious situation of ammunition...It is unfortunate but a serious issue”.

“We are now frightened about the state of the army. I am afraid even in saying (so) because I don't want to run down the army,” he said.

However, taking the issue to another level, Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader Shivanand Tiwari demanded that the Army Chief be sacked. “This is a matter of serious indiscipline, the army chief should be sacked,” he said.

As the entire opposition agitated over the issue, Defence Minister Antony said he was 'aware' of the letter and assured a response from the government.

“I am aware of it, and government will respond at an appropriate time,” Antony said.

Opposition leaders, however, sought an immediate reply on the future course of action despite repeated pleas from Chairman Hamid Ansari to resume question hour. The house was then adjourned first for 15 minutes and then till 12 noon.

As the house reassembled at 11.22 AM, the chair requested members to resume the normal business, but opposition continued its protest. Amid the din the house was then adjourned till 12 noon.

(JPN/Agencies)