- - Wednesday, March 28, 2012

NEW DELHI India’s army chief says the country’s security is at risk, with army tanks running out of ammunition and its air defense system obsolete, in another embarrassment for India’s beleaguered government.

The private letter from Gen. Vijay Kumar Singh to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was discussed in Parliament on Wednesday after it had been leaked to a national newspaper and television stations.

Defense Minister A.K. Antony said the government was addressing the concerns raised.

In the letter, the army chief claimed nearly all of India’s air defense equipment was out-of-date and that the state of the artillery, air defense and infantry was “alarming.”

Gen. Singh said the army was “devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks” and that the country’s air defense system was “97 percent obsolete.”

The letter caused an uproar in Parliament with angry opposition lawmakers attacking the government for neglecting the country’s defense.

BELARUS

3 opposition activists arrested in Belarus

MINSK Belarus arrested three top opposition figures Wednesday who were on their way to Brussels to meet with European Union officials, a move certain to further fuel tensions with the bloc.

The 27-nation EU already has imposed sanctions on authoritarian Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime over its crackdown on dissent and recalled its ambassadors from the ex-Soviet nation, which is wedged between Russia and Poland.

Those arrested were Anatoly Lebedko, the head of Belarus‘ largest opposition United Civil Party; Sergei Kalyakin, the leader of the Fair World leftist party; and Alexander Otroshchenkov, a leading activist of the European Belarus group.

They were detained on a train as they were heading to Moscow to fly to Brussels and have been put in police custody on charges of hooliganism pending a trial Thursday.

LIBYA

Tribe threatens separate state in south

TRIPOLI A Libyan tribe threatened Wednesday to declare a separate state in Libya’s south after days of bloody battles with a rival tribe, the second such move toward secession this month.

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