New Delhi: Is India ready for war? The Comptroller and Auditor General has grave doubts. His latest audit report on the armed forces comes up with two stunning disclosures.
One, that more than half of India's submarines are not battle-ready. Two, that its radars are too old and too few to provide any credible defence against an air attack.
The report reveals that at any time, only 48 per cent of Indian Naval ageing submarines are available for waging war, should India be attacked. The rest are in repair and refit.
Age is such an issue that 50 per cent of the submarines are in the last stages of their prescribed life. Sixty-three per cent of the fleet would be ready for phase-out by 2012
Not only are the submarines too old, the numbers are too few - way below approved force levels.
India's fleet of an estimated 16 submarines is just 67 per cent of the force levels approved 23 years ago.
The bad news doesn't end here. The CAG has now confirmed an earlier report by CNN-IBN that the Navy's main strike weapon, the submarine-launched Klub land-attack cruise missile, is malfunctioning.
Too old, too few - it's much the same story with radars which are at the heart of India's air defences, which are based on an outdated, 37-year-old plan.
Shortage of key radars was to the tune of 76 per cent, making India particularly vulnerable to air attacks.
The audit report suggests that the IAF just doesn't have the equipment to ensure a credible air defence for India.
The CAG report is a warning that the lack of nimbleness in India's defence planning and procurements can be exploited by India's enemies.
It is also an indictment of the lack of hygiene and common sense in India's defence acquisition process.