Ensure quality uniforms for soldiers: Antony


New Delhi : Upset over reports that the Indian Army soldiers were being issued substandard uniforms and other clothing, Defence Minister A.K. Antony Friday asked the top brass of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) to ensure they provided the best possible kits.

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Reviewing the performance of the OFB, Antony said: “Ensure that jawans, especially those deployed in areas of extreme weather conditions, get most comfortable clothes.”

“The best parameter of the quality of a product ultimately depends on how satisfied the end-user is,” he added.

Responding to reports of pilferage of clothing and food meant for soldiers serving on the Siachen glacier in Jammu and Kashmir, Antony last december informed parliament that after an internal probe by the army into the scam, administrative action has been initiated against three officers and three junior commissioned officers.

The pilferage came to light in July 2007 in the Leh-based headquarters of the 14 Corps when, during a joint operation conducted by the army and the Kashmir Police, it was discovered that civilian shopkeepers in Chumathang and the Nubra Valley were selling specialised clothing and equipment like jackets, boots and parachutes, as also foodstuff meant for soldiers.

Many personnel below the rank of officers have often complained of poor quality of their uniform, forcing them to buy these from unauthorised dealers with thier own money.

Antony also asked the top officials of the Ordnance Factory Board to constantly improve skills at all levels of the organisation.

“India cannot depend indefinitely on foreign countries for supply of defence equipment. Both the public and the private sector will have to play a crucial role to make India self-reliant,” Antony stressed.