CAG blames Army for delay in Arjun tanks’ induction

NEW DELHI: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has blamed the Indian Army for delaying the induction of Arjun tanks developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and blamed the Ministry of Defence for playing along by allowing costly imports.

CAG blames Army for delay in Arjun tanks’ induction

editorial@tribune.com

Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 26
The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has blamed the Indian Army for delaying the induction of Arjun tanks developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and blamed the Ministry of Defence for playing along by allowing costly imports.

A comparative trial between the Arjun and the imported Russian T-90 tanks was done in April 2010 by fixing different benchmarks – very stringent for the Arjun and relaxed for the T-90, said the CAG in its report tabled in Parliament last Friday. The Arjun still scored over the T-90 on some issues, the trials were conducted on four parameters — fire power, survivability, reliability and miscellaneous issues.

The CAG has revealed what was restricted to the corridors of MoD and hidden behind secrecy of ‘national interest’. An order was placed for additional T-90 tanks in November 2007 even as Army kept on adding its requirements for the Arjun, said the CAG. The CAG also did not spare the Ministry of Defence, saying the “decision for import was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Security based on a note submitted by the ministry”.

Incidentally, the issue of ‘sabotage’ in trials of the Arjun was first flagged in April 2008 by then Minister of State for Defence Production Rao Inderjit Singh during the first term of UPA government. Since then, Rao switched parties, and is now again at the same post in the Narendra Modi-led regime. “The possibility of sabotage needs to be examined,” Singh had said in 2008.

The CAG, in its latest report said there were eight instances in which Arjun in the comparative trial was judged against more stringent benchmarks parameters. “We noticed, eight instances where the Army placed benchmark of parameters on Arjun which were more stringent in comparison to those placed on T-90 tanks… the imposition of more stringent parameters precluded a level playing field”.

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