Is The Indian Army Lacking Even Basic Infantry Weapons?

| October 16 , 2017 , 17:16 IST

Although Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has repeatedly said the nation is prepared for a "2.5 front war" the on-ground situation for Indian Army's foot soldiers is sadly disappointing as they are still nowhere close to getting basic modern infantry weapons, such as assault rifles, sniper guns, light machine guns and close-quarter carbines, a Times of India report said.

As a result of nearly a decade of acquisition projects from abroad being scrapped and a failure of indigenous designs to pass muster, there have been huge delays in the induction of "small arms" for the Army's infantry battalions.

During an Army commanders' conference last week, Gen Bipin Rawat conveyed to senior Lt-Generals that "our approach to procurement process needs to be balanced with focus at the right places".

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Although currently, plans are on to match the major operational gaps in the supply of artillery guns, air defence missiles and helicopters, the stock of small arms remains a big worry.

According to reports, the Army with 12 lakh soldiers needs at least 8,18,500 new-generation assault rifles, 4,18,300 close-quarter battle (CQB) carbines, 43,700 light machine guns and 5,679 sniper rifles.

Induction plans for the required arms involved direct purchase of an initial number of arms from a foreign vendor which would be followed by large-scale indigenous production with technology transfers. However, the plans have failed to materialise so far.

The state of supplies of the Army's infantry division is troubling, especially considering the unstable situation at the Pakistan border.