Led by Raj Babbar, MPs abandon top-level defence briefing to 'catch flights' NEW DELHI: The agenda was of utmost importance: "threat perception and preparedness of the forces including incursions on borders". The forum was among the highest in the landâ€”the parliamentary standing committee on defence. To brief the select members of Parliament at hand were the defence secretary, the director-general of military operations (DGMOs), several other senior officials from the Army, Navy and Air Force. It would have been the highest forum of democracy where the officials would be grilled, and held accountable. The meeting was significant because of recent developments along the 778-km-long Line of Control (LoC). At Keran sector, the Army had just completed a three-week operation to evict about 40 militants, and at least 10, including four Army personnel, had been killed in Samba on September 26. The meeting began 10 minutes past 3 pm on Wednesday. The defence secretary expressed his inability to give a copy of the presentations to the members present, because the information was highly classified. The Army was the first off the block, with senior officials briefing the MPs on recent flare-ups along the LoC. The briefing significantly focused on the Army's assessment of threat perceptions along the border with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bangladesh etc. Later, the Army made a separate presentation about its operation to evict almost 30 terrorists from Keran sector. As the formal presentations wound up, MPs had several questions â€” ranging from suspected leadership failure to its links to attacks in Samba. The MPs expressed their concern over the repeated breach of LoC, India's most militarised border. Senior officers of the Navy and the Air Force were awaiting their turn with classified presentations. It was 4.30 pm. And then, without any provocation, Raj Babbar, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on defence, announced that the meeting was being wound up because some members had to catch their flights. Though it is still not clear what are the credentials that make this Congress MP from Firozabad chairman of one of the most powerful parliamentary bodies, as he dispersed the Wednesday meeting he looked determined. According to those present at the meeting, his words conveyed his determination that someone not missing a flight was more important than the classified briefings on security preparedness. Even if embers of a bitterly fought operation in Keran sector was yet to be doused. It maybe a different show on TV studios and in public, where politicians never lose a moment to beat their chests to announce concerns about national security. Behind the closed doors of the standing committee, there weren't any such concerns. Not one member of the standing committee protested against Babbar's decision. Officials confirmed that the MPs would get their free business class flight tickets and per diem for attending the meeting. Even if meant that the Army briefing was yet to be completed, or Navy and Air Force couldn't make their presentations. Even if it meant that the LoC is now in the throes of infiltration and violence that has not been witnessed in recent memory. For the record, no member of the standing committee seemed to have missed their flights on Wednesday. Or, did they all actually rush to the airport? Led by Raj Babbar, MPs abandon top-level defence briefing to 'catch flights' - The Times of India ******************************* With such idiots at the helm of affairs, how can this nation fight or its soldiers get the feeling that the Nation cares! No wonder there is such problems, as seen never before, happening so frequently in the Army.