New Delhi: Against the backdrop of recent scams in defence purchases, Defence Minister AK Antony on Monday said the armed forces should have "transparency" in their functioning. Inaugurating the bi-annual Army Commanders' Conference in Delhi, he expressed concern over the regional security situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and expressed confidence that the armed forces would be prepared to meet the challenges.
"You should work towards having transparency in your functioning," he said in his address. His statement comes at a time when the CBI is carrying out a probe into the Rs 3,600 crore deal for 12 VVIP choppers and former IAF chief SP Tyagi is being questioned for being an alleged beneficiary of the Rs 362 crore kickbacks paid to secure the contract. Army's deal for procuring 197 choppers is also stuck due to the charges of bribe sought allegedly by a brigadier from AgustaWestland for swinging the deal in its favour.
Antony said the government was committed and would provide full support to the modernisation plans of the Army, which is planning to raise a new Mountain Strike Corps along the border with China in the near future. The minister stressed on the need for enhancing "self reliance in defence equipment as part of India's long-term interest".
Commenting on the regional and global security situation, the Defence Minister urged the Army to be "alive" to these issues. During the three-day conference, the senior commanders of the forces will discuss several issues including the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states.