For a change, MPs from a broad spectrum of political parties are on the same side of the fence. None of them is contesting that armed forces personnel deserve better salaries and allowances.
During a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the Ministry of Defence, MPs favoured a better deal for soldiers from the Sixth Pay Commission. Defence minister AK Antony has time and again called for a better packages for soldiers who served the nation with unflinching commitment.
On Tuesday, Antony reiterated that the service conditions of soldiers needed to be improved especially at a time when market forces were determining the pay packages of a wide spectrum of work force.
The minister assured the committee that the government would take necessary measures to provide minimum deterrence capability to the armed forces commensurate with the size and geo-strategic position of India in today’s global order.
He also said that the modernisation of the armed forces was on course and in the next few years all the three services would get the equipment and platforms required for achieving minimum deterrence.
He said India was not in favour of triggering an arms race but it was allocating resources for military purchases after studying the environment at regular intervals to ensure that the armed forces remained prepared to face any challenge.
The shortcomings in India’s air defence capabilities also came up for discussion during the meeting. Antony said that the IAF was taking necessary steps to buttress its detection capabilities and plug the gaps in radar coverage. He said since the planning of air defence was a dynamic process, review of assets and requirements was being done from time to time keeping national security imperatives in mind.
He said efforts were underway to integrate civil and military radars to make optimal use of resources. The Chief of Integrated Staff Committee (CISC), Lieutenant General HS Lidder, made a presentation on the subject.
Attendees included Rameshwar Oraon, Ram Gopal Yadav, M Shivanna, Samik Lahiri, S Bangarappa, Shankhlal Majhi, Syed Azees Pasha, Madhu Goud Yaskhi and Dharam Pal Sabharwal.
The MoD was represented by minister of state for defence M.M. Pallam Raju, minister of state for defence production Rao Inderjit Singh, defence secretary Shekhar Dutt, secretary (defence production) K P Singh, scientific advisor to defence minister M Natrajan and director-general acquisition S Banerjee.