Army Commanders' meet on Apr 16

Army Commanders' meet on Apr 16

Weeks after Army Chief Gen V K Singh's alerted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Army's poor state of military preparedness in his sensational letter, top Army commanders will meet here next week to take stock of preparedness level and review procurement plan for the 12th plan.

High on the agenda would be purchase of new artillery guns and changing the air-defence system, almost 97 per cent of which, Gen Singh reportedly claimed, were obsolete.

The four-day long bi-annual Army commander's conference would begin here on Monday. Union Defence minister A K Antony and Gen Singh would address the commanders.
Army Chief designate Lt Gen Bikram Singh and Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who is a strong chance of replacing Bikram Singh as Army Chief are also expected to attend the conference.

The two lieutenant generals had found themselves as key players in a series of unsavoury controversies that engulfed the Army in recent months. While a petition has been filed in the Supreme Court accusing Bikram Singh of human rights violation in Jammu and Kashmir and killing an innocent man in an encounter, Gen Singh forwarded a complaint against Suhag, made by a Parliament Member, to the Central Bureau of Investigation asking the agency to probe the charges.

Army own internal inquiry, however, could not find any evidence against Lt Gen Suhag following which the defence ministry promoted him as Army commander. Lt Gen Suhag may take over as the commander of Western Command once the incumbent Lt Gen S R Ghosh retires on May 31.

On the inaugural day of the commander's conference, Defence Minister A K Antony will separately hold a meeting to review the capital acquisitions for the Army along with senior Ministry and Service officials. The commanders will discuss operational preparedness and training issues.

In the wake of Army Chief's letter to the Prime Minister, the defence ministry has fast tracked some of the purchases such shells for T-90 tanks and new air defence guns. However, there is still uncertainty on new artillery guns and replacement of Army's ageing helicopters.

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