Indian Forces Ready For Any Situation: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Sunday refused to categorise the severity of threat from China and Pakistan but insisted that Indian forces are ready for any scenario.

During a day’s visit to Uttarlai airbase in Rajasthan’s Barmer district, she said her top priority would be to maintain optimum state of preparedness of the armed forces on all fronts.

She refused to comment on army chief General Bipin Rawat’s recent statement that India must be prepared for two-front war.

“We should be prepared to deal with security challenges without discussing who is a stronger enemy – China or Pakistan. Our defence forces need to be completely prepared,” Sitharaman told reporters.

The minister also brushed aside the CAG’s recent report which had stated that the defence forces have ammunition that can last for 20 days in an event of a war, instead of the minimum requirement of 40 days.

She stressed that there was no shortage of ammunition and that it was a routine process to purchase ammunition and other assets for the forces.

She said that her first and top priority is to ensure fulfilment of every requirement of the forces. She said that after taken the charge she met the Prime Minister and NSA and to discus India’s military preparedness. All the issues related to forces would be address shortly and also on priority basis, she said.

“We need to fill the gaps and the government is committed to strengthening the armed forces,” Sitharaman said.

Replying to a question on militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, the defence minister said that Centre was taking all possible steps in conjunction with the state government. She said that J-K police too had prevented many terrorist activities.

Asked about Indo-Pakistan dialogue, she said that the ministry of external affairs had already clarified its stand. She said that even Prime Minister too had spoke on this issue and India’s position on Kashmir is clear.

Earlier in the day, Sitharaman addressed air warriors and attended a meeting with top air force officials including Indian air force chief Air Marshal B S Dhanoa.

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