The Standing Committee on Defence report covers pertinent issues based on their topicality and merit

Chairman Raj Babbar, Additional Director Sanjeev Sharma (in golf cap) and other members of the standing committee on defence

The Standing Committee on Defence report for 2013-2014 prepared under the chairmanship of Congress MP Raj Babbar (film actor) was tabled in the Parliament in February. What sets it apart from earlier such annual reports is its focus on operational issues and in-depth recommendations.

Five issues covered in the report include threat perception; preparedness of the forces; incursion on borders; coordination mechanism with the central armed police forces (CAPF); and border connectivity through road, air and rail. Under the rubric of ‘preparedness’, the committee has rightly gone beyond the issues of the defence services, that is, army, air force, navy and coast guard, to include the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the public sector Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as well. Given the enormity of the subjects under consideration, the committee has, understandably, picked up select subjects based on their topicality and merit. For example, HAL has been asked on the basic and the intermediate jet trainers (IJT), navy on coastal defence, army on manpower and its roles and mission, air force on its combat strength (especially the Rafale aircraft for the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft acquisition) vis-à-vis roles and mission, and the defence ministry on external threats and border connectivity.


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