The Defence Ministry on Monday emphasised that the movement of troops in January was part of a routine exercise to check operational preparedness and “strongly dismissed” the media report on it as being based on “wrong inferences, surmises and conjectures.”
Informing Parliament that the government did not take any action to fix responsibility since it was a routine movement, Defence Minister A.K. Antony said “mobilisation forms an important facet of training and is considered a critical performance parameter. These are carried out in a routine manner by various formations/units and do not require any formal notification.”
The Minister's written response was after members sought to know the details of the event and whether it inquired into the matter and fixed responsibility on those who created an “unwanted scare over routine troop movement.”
Separately, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence expressed regret over the report by a leading newspaper, particularly when it related to routine exercises. The obvious reference was to The Indian Express report earlier this month. It had talked of how movement of troops in mid-January had spooked the government as it came a day ahead of the petition of Army Chief General V.K. Singh in the Supreme Court on the age issue.
In its latest report tabled in Parliament on Monday, the committee said Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma told the panel the troop movement was purely for training purposes aimed at refining the mobilisation drills and ensuring the operational preparedness of the Army in adverse weather conditions.
“As stated by the Secretary, the media report was based on wrong inferences, surmises and conjectures and is strongly dismissed,” the report noted.