Last 10 years have shown BJP cannot be trusted with India's national security: Congress

06:25 PM May 30, 2024 | PTI |

The Congress claimed on Thursday that the last 10 years have clearly shown that the BJP cannot be trusted with India’s national security and listed the Narendra Modi government’s ”failures”, such as the ”Agniveer fiasco”, a shortage of Army personnel and a ”clean chit to China”.


Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said on June 4, ”as the Congress-led government takes office”, the party will immediately start implementing its ”Nyay Patra” (Lok Sabha poll manifesto) promises on national security.
”We will restore the strength and funding of our armed forces, end demoralising and ineffective schemes like Agnipath, and tackle the China crisis head-on,” he said on X.

Ramesh claimed that the last 10 years have very clearly shown that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cannot be trusted with India’s national security.

”There have been six major failures: Weakened armed forces with Agniveer fiasco; serious shortages of personnel in Army; declining expenditure on defence; clean chit to China; Modani takeover of defence industry; standing up to a ‘larger economy’,” he said.

In a series of posts on the microblogging platform, Ramesh claimed that the Agniveer scheme for short-term military recruitment was imposed by the BJP-led Centre without any debate or scrutiny in Parliament, and without even consulting the Army, Navy and Air Force chiefs.


He claimed that the scheme has many features that make it a threat to national security, such as reduced training, the recruits given lower benefits than regular soldiers and promoting unhealthy competition.

Ramesh also said the ”reckless, miserly” approach of the outgoing Modi government towards India’s defence has seriously harmed the Army’s readiness.

He said the Modi government has overseen a 10-year period of declining defence expenditure as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

”Except for a brief blip in 2019-21, which is an anomaly caused by the contraction of GDP due to COVID, the Defence Ministry budget has been decreasing from over 2.1 per cent of GDP in 2014 to just 1.9 per cent in 2024-25,” the Congress leader said.

”This decline has created serious equipment shortages. For example, our Air Force is down to 31 fighter squadrons, compared to 42 squadrons sanctioned. IAF chief has said 42 squadrons is ‘essential’ but even in the best-case, we are only on track to end up with 35-36 squadrons in the 2030s,” he said.

”On June 19, 2020, the outgoing Prime Minister infamously stated — ‘Na koi hamari seema mein ghus aaya hai, na hi koi ghusa hua hai, na hi hamari koi post kisi dusre ke kabze mein hain’. There is just one problem with that statement. It was a shameful, cowardly lie that weakened India’s negotiating position,” Ramesh alleged.

The Congress leader claimed that the country has lost 26 of the 65 patrolling points in eastern Ladakh to China.

”We must note that the BJP has held at least 18 meetings with the Communist Party of China, with undisclosed agendas. Perhaps that explains why the PM’s ‘lal aankh’ to China has translated into them swinging on a jhoola together,” he said.

Ramesh also alleged that just like airports, ports, infrastructure and logistics, ”the outgoing PM has been busy handing over India’s defence industry to his tempo-waale industrialist friends”.

”In February 2023, EAM S Jaishankar said that India cannot pick a fight with China because we are a ‘smaller economy’. Leave aside the cowardice of this statement, the defeatist attitude and the demoralisation to our jawans. Leave aside the fact that India is strong enough to stand up to any nation in the world, no matter the size of the economy,” he said.

Ramesh further pointed out that the finance ministry declared in 2019 that disability pensions for retired personnel would be subject to income taxes.

”The outgoing PM has proven to be completely incapable of managing China, of modernising and expanding our armed forces, of managing recruitment, or even growing the economy to fund a bigger military. His only focus has been the enrichment of ‘Hum Do, Humaare Do’,” he said.


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