This Article is From Jun 07, 2016

After Pulgaon Fire, Army Conducts Safety Audits Of Arms Depots In Eastern India

Eastern Command has undertaken a safety audit of depots in eastern India, after 19 soldiers were killed in the explosion at the Army's ammunition depot at Pulgaon in Maharashtra.

Kolkata: A week after 19 soldiers were killed in the explosion at the Army's ammunition depot at Pulgaon in Maharashtra, the Eastern Command has undertaken a safety audit of depots in eastern India.

"We have a few major ammunition dumps in the east and we have done a safety and technical audit of all of them and they are safe," said Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi, Eastern Army Commander, in Kolkata on Monday.

"Minor hiccups do happen. Some of our ammunition which has to be kept outside our dumps may not be in the best of locations. But that is part of our infrastructure development which goes into our border areas," he added.

In Manipur, where six jawans were killed in an ambush on May 22, Lieutenant General Bakshi said, "Manipur was not a slip up. Every unit is always prepared. But this unfortunate incident happened. Luckily, only one vehicle got caught, soldiers in the other two vehicles reacted very bravely."

He denied some reports that the Indian Army had crossed into Myanmar in "hot pursuit though insurgency knows no boundaries."

Lieutenant General Bakshi said if the Army is required to address insurgency, it requires the Armed Forces Special Powers Act or AFSPA to be in place. "If we don't have AFSPA, our hands are tied and we cannot do our jobs effectively. AFSPA is an enabling provision, not a draconian one, as it is made out to be."

Lieutenant General Bakshi also launched VEcare or Veteran Emergency care on Monday. Veterans seeking medical help in an emergency can dial the helpline number, 1904. Checks and balances have been put in place so that PIOs - Pakistan Intelligence Operatives - do not misuse the system. There are 24 lakh defence forces' veterans in India.