'Defence ministry responsible for mishaps'

'Defence ministry responsible for mishaps'

Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Thursday hit out at the Defence Ministry helmed by senior colleague A K Antony for neglecting maintenance of military assets such as aircraft and submarines.

Chidambaram, addressing a convention of the National Students’ Union of India, hoped that the Defence Ministry would spend the money allocated to it “more wisely”.

Chidambaram said the Finance Ministry has allocated Rs 2.25 lakh crore for defence.

“...Ffor defence, believe me, we have provided the maximum amount that we can,” he said adding that it was up to the senior officers of the Army, Navy and the Air Force to decide on how to spend the funds.

Replying to a question by a NSUI member claiming to be a sister of a Navy officer who died in the recent fire incident on submarine INS Sindhuratna, the minister insisted that the Finance Ministry provided “a lot of money” to the Defence Ministry.

“I sincerely hope that the defence forces will learn a lesson and make sure that the money allotted to them is spent more wisely and more efficiently on essential matters,” Chidambaram said.

The minister was asked why the government had not sanctioned money for ensuring security and safety of the defence forces.

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