NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Arun Jaitley has assured Parliament, “armed forces are fully prepared to meet any challenge” while cautioning Opposition parties against giving the impression that the forces were unprepared due to lack of procurement.

Intervening in the Lok Sabha during a discussion on demands for grants of the defense ministry, Jaitley said: “This impression should not go out that procurement is not happening... our Army is not prepared.

Our defense forces are fully prepared to meet any challenge... the matter of preparedness of defense forces should be bipartisan and not politicized.”

Rejecting the opposition charge that the government had ignored the needs of the defense forces and not allocated adequate budget, Jaitley said that the Modi government had signed 147 procurement contracts worth over Rs 2.96 lakh crore in three years.

He cited contracts to procure weapons and equipment for all three wings of the forces — including 155 mm ultralight howitzer guns and Brahmos missiles for the Army, deep sea rescue missions for the Navy and Apache attack helicopters for the Air Force — to make his point.

He rejected the charge that the ambitious ‘Make in India’ scheme had failed in the defense sector, saying 134 proposals worth over Rs 4.45 lakh crore were signed and 100 of them were aimed at buy and make in India.

“In the self-critical analysis, we should not exaggerate... The government has worked to speed up the procurement process and make it more transparent,” he said. The third round of One Rank One Pension arrears will be released shortly, the minister said.