The letter was reportedly written to the PM on Mar 12, which is two weeks before Singh made the explosive claims on bribery. In the letter, the Army Chief is understood to have asked the PM to “pass suitable directions to enhance the preparedness of the Army”.
Gen Singh is believed to have written to the PM after failing to get a response from the Defence Ministry. The letter states, "The state of the major (fighting) arms i.e. Mechanised Forces, Artillery, Air Defence, Infantry and Special Forces, as well as Engineers and Signals, is indeed alarming."
Singh mentioned in the letter that the entire tank fleet was devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks. He also added that the air defence was '97 per cent obsolete and it doesn't give the deemed confidence to protect from the air', the infantry had 'deficiencies of crew served weapon' and lacks 'night fighting' capabilities and that the Elite Special Forces were 'woefully short of essential weapons'.
Taking a dig at the red tape in the procurement division of the Army, Singh pointed out that the 'hollowness' in the system is a manifestation of the procedures and processing time for procurements as well as legal impediments by vendors. He also mentioned that the quality of work was poor and there was a 'lack of urgency at all levels' on matters of national security.
Singh made these observations as he was responsible for preparing a comprehensive transformation study to modernise the Army some years ago. Singh considers that such lapses erode the Army's preparedness considering two "inimical neighbours" and the "reality of large land borders".
After Singh has exposed the reality of Army preparedness, sources within the government has said that the letter can be seen as a breach of protocol. The source has been quoted as saying, "As the Army Chief he should have kept it limited to the Defence Minister, there was no need to drag it to the PMO. This can be seen as a breach of protocol."