An army briefing for the members of Parliament defence committee regarding the surgical strikes was cancelled on Thursday, causing uproar in the Congress. Two leaders called it highly objectionable and reflective of government’s lack of confidence in parliamentarians.
The committee is scheduled to meet on Friday.
The day’s agenda had indicated that army officials would brief members on the strikes and subsequently deliberate on the shortage of arms and ammunition for the defence forces.
“We see no reason why this has been changed and that too at the last minute,” Congress MPs Ambika Soni and Madhusudan Mistry said in a joint statement. Mistry added that they have written to the committee’s chairman BC Khanduri.
The two leaders, members of the panel, claimed the cancellation showed to a ‘lack of confidence’ in the MPs, who are members and bound by the oath of secrecy.
“The defence ministry, despite repeated mentions in the committee, never presented their policies and preparedness to meet emergency situations if created by the neighbouring countries nor have they come out with valid reasons for delay in acquisition of defence equipment including arms and ammunition,” they said.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, who is also a member of the standing committee, however, differed saying the decision should be left to the army.
“If the army feels that something has to be kept secret for some time, there is no way we in the committee can challenge it. The Committee chairman is consulted by the army chief and the chairman also interacts with the government,” the BJP leader retorted.