Charging the UPA government with going soft on the "espionage rings" in the Indian Army, the Left parties on Tuesday asked the Centre to plug all loopholes to ensure that the armed forces were free from all such vices.
Talking to UNI, top leaders of the CPI, CPI(M) and Forward Bloc said Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee's revelations that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was active in the country simply showed "our soft approach in the matter".
Mukherjee had stated on Monday that it was a "matter of concern" that the ISI was active in the country.
CPI leaders AB Bardhan and Gurudas Dasgupta said the reports of infiltration of spies into the Indian Army showed that the country's counter-espionage system had been soft.
Another top CPI leader, Shamim Faizi, sought to impress upon the government that a stray incident should be used to clear the alarming situation.
"Before making any concrete statement, the government should investigate the whole affair," he said.
CPI(M) senior leader Nilotpal Basu said the infiltration of ISI agents in the Indian Army called for better vigilance by the security agencies.
"It is not the only incident when security has been breached. Earlier there have been reports about the CIA penetration into our intelligence network and cyber network. That was due to our proximity to the US. All these issues should not be lost sight of," Basu, a former Rajya Sabha member, said.
Forward Bloc National Secretary G Devrajan called for stringent measures while recruiting Army personnel. "Mere revelations won't do."
He said the matter should also be viewed in the contest of the recent report of the deployment of surrendered Kashmiri militants in the PM's security.
On the merger of the Indian Airlines and Air India, and the selling off of the residual stake in Maruti Udyog Limited, the Left leaders criticised the Congress-led coalition for going ahead with these despite the Left's opposition.
Dasgupta said the move was neither in the interest of IA or the AI as the service conditions in the two airlines were different.
Dasgupta, party Floor leader in the Lok Sabha and AITUC General Secretary, questioned the urgency in going ahead with the merger. "Why should these two airlines be merged. Why cannot they work in tendem," he asked.
The CPI leader also asked the government to make its position clear whether it wanted to "liquidate its stake or keep these airlines".
Basu said his party had always been in favour of the merger of IA and AI as there were several areas of synergy but the merger involved a lot of complexities relating to manpower and technical operations.
"The government should, therefore, talk to the employees, officers and all concerned of the two airlines," he added.
Faizi, editor of the party weekly, New Age, said the government had already handed over the management of Maruti to the Japanese MNC Suzuki. It will only be the final burial of the profit- making PSU.
The Left leaders said the process of handing over the Maruti started during the NDA regime. "The UPA has continued with it which shows a continuity in surrendering national assets of the profit- making PSUs to foreign capital.