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|July 16, 1998||
Steps taken to meet forces's requirements after N-tests: Fernandes
Steps have been initiated to meet the new requirements of the armed forces in the wake of India becoming a nuclear state, Defence Minister George Fernandes told the Lok Sabha during question hour today.
He told Vilas Muttemwar that a proper assessment had been made by the government and steps initiated to ensure that the three armed forces were able to discharge their duties efficiently and effectively in view of the new scenario.
Fernandes assured the member that the navy was also fully capable of discharging its duties in the new situation.
He, however, agreed with Muttemwar that some naval ships had retired after completing their life span and some others were on the verge of retirement, but asserted that adequate force levels were maintained either through indigenous construction of ships or through import for urgent requirements.
Muttemwar said that only 50 per cent of the 136 ships with the navy were use-worthy.
The member also said that the National Defence College had made an assessment in the wake of the Pokhran nuclear explosions and made certain suggestions. He wanted to know whether the government had initiated steps on the NDC recommendations.
Answering another question, the minister denied that India and the United States had decided to hold fresh talks on defence co-operation in view of the slow progress of this programme in the past.
On a question whether the government has suffered losses amounting to millions of rupees on account of purchase of sub-standard equipment for armed forces, Fernandes laid a statement on the table of the House.
The statement said:
''Procurement of radars: The problems in most of these radars have been rectified and these are now in operation. One radar is being repaired and another met with an accident which is being investigated...
''Procurement of ammunition: Due to technological upgradation, ammunition was supplied without a certain mechanism which had performed better in field trial.
''Procurement of missiles: Out of a number of missiles procured from abroad in 1994, a few misfired. The reasons for the misfire are under investigation.
''Import of tank fire control system from Yugoslavia: The matter has already been taken up with the government of Yugoslavia at the highest level through the ministry of external affairs and also through our ambassador in Belgrade.''
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