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Sitharaman lashes out on media for “putting words in her mouth”

Newly inducted Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has lashed out on media for “putting words in her mouth” while reporting on Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on allegedly low level of arms and ammunitions. It was reported in media on 10th September that Sitharaman, while addressing media in Barmer, had dismissed the CAG report as ‘factually wrong’.

The CAG report, recently tabled in the Parliament, had stated that the defence forces had ammunition to fight a 10-day war. It said that the defence forces had a shortfall in ammunition. At that time, Arun Jaitley held the additional charge of Defence.

Sitharaman, in Barmer, said she has had a discussion with senior officers and experts and that purchasing ammunitions is a continuous process.

Following the reports where she called “CAG reports factually incorrect”, Sitharaman today addressed media in Gujarat and said she never said that the CAG reports were factually incorrect.

She said she was wrongly reported and added that buying arms and ammunition is a continuous process.

“When I met with the reporters, there was a question about the preparedness of the army and was there anything lacking in terms of ammunition. I told them that the buying of arms and ammunition for the army is a continuous process and often we feel that there is lack of something or the other. And, we have to fill this gap. And, since it is a continuous process, there shouldn’t be any discussion which is devoid of facts,” she said in Gujarat while addressing the media.

She clarified that the reporter had asked her for CAG report and other reports, while she did respond to that question, she didn’t specifically say CAG report was factually incorrect. It was interpreted wrongly. She appealed to the media to report the facts.

Earlier, to address this issue of war preparedness, government had given special financial powers to Army to procure critical weapon systems for maintaining adequate stockpiles and combat readiness for “short and intense wars”.

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