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Can India survive a 10-day war? CAG report exposes critical Ammo shortfall

AFP PHOTO/Rouf BHAT

40 per cent of ammunition stock will last for less than 10 days long war

NEW DELHI: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on Friday flagged critical shortage of ammunition in the Indian Army.

In its report that was tabled in Parliament, the CAG found deficiencies in the performance of the Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) and found no improvement in the functioning of its factories in comparison to what it was in 2013.

It said that for at least 40 percent of different types of ammunition, the Indian Army has just about enough to fight 10 days of war.

Out of 152 types of ammunition crucial to fight a war, 61 types would last 10 days of war, whereas it is compulsory for the Indian Army to hold ammunition enough for 20 days of intense battle.

 The report pointed out two critical shortages in the artillery and tank ammunition and blamed the OFB for failing to deliver as per the roadmap that was set in 2013.

“We observed no significant improvement in the availability of ammunition (September 2016)..availability of 55 per cent types of ammunitions was below MARL i.e. minimum inescapable requirement to be maintained for operational preparedness and 40 percent types of ammunitions were in critical level, having stock of less than 10 days,” the CAG report noted.

Inadequate Quality of Ammunition Supplied Since March 2013

The CAG also slammed the State-run Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) for critical deficiency in availability of ammunition to the Army. In a scathing report – tabled in the Parliament on Friday – the CAG criticised the OFB for inadequate quality of ammunition supplied to the Army since March 2013.

The CAG said despite serious concerns highlighted in a high-level report on ‘Ammunition management in Army’ in 2015, no significant improvement took place in the critical deficiency in availability of ammunition and quality of ammunition supplied by the OFB.

Highlighting the situation, another expert (Retired) Major General D. K. Mehta said, “Deficiency across the board is alarming. We have to maintain war wastage reserve and also have to cater for the practice ammunition which is done annually. Thus the scarcity as projected by the CAG report further adds to the criticality.”

A former officer also noted that the scarcity in ammunitions in war wastage reserve would severely hamper the training of army.

“Ammunition is critical piece of operational preparedness and therefore we must assure that the minimum acceptable level of ammunition is always available. And where there is a shortfall I am given to understand that government is making efforts to make it up,” former Armored Corps officer Retired Lieutenant General A .K. Singh told ANI.

The report said there was a wasteful expenditure on procurement of ‘incompatible’ Outboard Motors that cost Rs 1.26 crore.

“Outboard Motors (OBM) costing Rs 1.26 crore, which were procured by invoking Army Commander Special Financial Powers to meet immediate requirement in Northern Command, could not be utilised. 46 out of 50 OBMs have been used for less than 10 hours in seven years,” the report states.

With ANI, PTI inputs