NEW DELHI, March 28 � The row between Army Chief and Government worsened today with Defence Minister AK Antony saying �appropriate action� would be taken for leakage of a letter written by Gen VK Singh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh amid demands by political parties for his dismissal, reports PTI.
The issue of the contents of the letter appearing in the media rocked Rajya Sabha with members terming it as �disturbing� and �serious� and demanding that the government should take action against those responsible �whatever position he holds�.
Responding to concerns expressed by members, Antony said, �I have made serious note of the observations... After consulting the Prime Minister and colleagues, we will take appropriate action.�
He conf-irmed that the Army Chief had written to the Prime Minister on March 12 drawing his �attention to issues related to national defence and security.�
He said, �These issues are under the consideration of the Ministry of Defence. By very nature of these issues, they cannot be a matter of public debate.�
Earlier, Antony met the Prime Minister over the issue. Home Minister P Chidambaram and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma were also present at the meeting.
According to a newspaper report, the Army Chief has contended in the letter that the entire tank fleet is �devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks�, the air defence is �97 per cent obsolete� and the infantry is crippled with �deficiencies of crew served weapon� and lacks �night fighting� capabilities.
Gen Singh has also alleged that there is �hollowness� in the procedures and processing time for procurements as well as legal impediments by vendors.
Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley expressed concerns over leakage of the letter saying matters which are supposed to be confidential are being leaked to media. He told the Defence Minister that if these sorts of leakages are permitted, there is no point in saying that you do not want such matters to be part of any acrimonious debate.