Rahul Gandhi, CDS Rawat attend House defence panel meet | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Rahul Gandhi, CDS Rawat attend House defence panel meet

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By
Sep 12, 2020 02:23 AM IST

The meeting -- in which Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat was present -- centered around the topic on the agenda, “provision and monitoring of the quality of ration and livery items to the defence forces”.

New Delhi: The parliamentary standing committee on defence, which met on Friday with former Congress president Rahul Gandhi in attendance for the first time, discussed issues such as better food, clothing and other facilities for soldiers, especially those deployed on the borders, according to people aware of the matter.

Rahul Gandhi on Friday expressed concern over the food items being provided to soldiers as compared to officers, saying rank should not considered for providing the “type of food or nutrition” in the defence forces, sources said.(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)
Rahul Gandhi on Friday expressed concern over the food items being provided to soldiers as compared to officers, saying rank should not considered for providing the “type of food or nutrition” in the defence forces, sources said.(Mohd Zakir/HT PHOTO)

The meeting -- in which Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat was present -- centered around the topic on the agenda, “provision and monitoring of the quality of ration and livery items to the defence forces”.

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The committee is headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member Jual Oram.

The border standoff between India and China was not discussed, though Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and former defence minister Sharad Pawar did seek a discussion on matter, the people cited above said.

When Pawar asked for a briefing on the latest situation in India-China border conflict, General Rawat said his comments have been noted, and indicated that the armed forces will send a written reply to the panel later -- a usual practise in parliament that allows deponents to give a detailed reply to questions which they think should be handled more carefully.

Last month, appearing before another parliament committee, Rawat had said that de-escalation in Ladakh may be a “long-drawn process” but that the Indian armed forces is prepared for it and has made all arrangements for troop deployment in the harsh winter. The top general and three-star Generals had also emphasised that the Indian armed forces are prepared to face any contingency.

Rahul Gandhi on Friday expressed concern over the food items being provided to soldiers as compared to officers, saying rank should not considered for providing the “type of food or nutrition” in the defence forces, they added.

Gandhi had skipped the earlier meetings of the panel, apparently as a mark of protest against the inclusion of BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Bhopal, Pragya Singh Thakur, in the 31-member committee.

The BJP later removed her from the panel following her praise of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse, whom she called a “desh bhakt (patriot)” during a discussion on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha in the Winter Session last year.

According to a functionary present in the meeting, when Gandhi wanted to know about the difference between the ration for jawans and the officers, General Rawat emphasised there is no qualitative difference in food but since jawans mostly come from rural India, they prefer certain kind of food items such as chapati over rice.

He added that there is no complaint about the quality of food.

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