Defence Minister AK Antony came under an attack from the opposition parties in Indian Parliament over lack of Defence preparedness and shortage of equipment, with their members saying his "no work, no mistake and clean image” policy was dangerous.
They also demanded that the government increase the Defence spending to three per cent of the gross domestic product from the existing less than two per cent at present.
The opposition party members, during a debate on Indian Defence
Ministry's functioning, noted that US spent four per cent of its GDP on Defence, while Russia spend 3.5 per cent, Pakistan three per cent, France and Britain 2.3 per cent and China 2.1 per cent.
Rejecting the government's claim that the Defence budget was growing annually, the members pointed out that in terms of US dollars, the statistics is "window dressing" and an exercise in "public relations."
They said the raise was only 13 per cent compared to last year's budget. They said it seemed that Antony was not pushing for a hike in Defence budget.
Noting that the country's Defence budget was very less, they ruled that even the allocated funds were returned unspent. "The army and the air force surrendered Rs. 5,727 crore ($1.3 billion), which is a matter of great concern and shame."
They said the minister should not hesitate from taking a decision due to "fears” that somebody will raise a finger against him and urged him to lead from the front.
The members also noted that Indian Air Force (IAF) pilots were not receiving their first stage training on HPT-32 aircraft after the plane was ground in 2009 following accidents that killed the pilots. Even for their second stage training, IAF does not have enough number of Kiran trainer planes. The IAF, they pointed out, has only 81 Kiran planes in its fleet, against a requirement of 234.