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Army reforms: Amid plans to go bulletproof, soldiers still awaiting small arms

Even as the second largest army in the world is headed for an overhaul, soldiers are still deprived of modern infantry weapons such as assault rifles and sniper guns.

October 17, 2017 / 01:21 PM IST
Representative Image

Representative Image

As part of efforts towards modernisation, the Indian Army is now looking for modular, bulletproof and portable bunkers to replace the existing ones made from stone, mud, wood and steel.

The reforms include the use of standard bulletproof material from jackets to vehicles, the Economic Times reported.

The existing bunkers are unable to survive extreme weather or intense enemy fire. Steel bunkers in particular are difficult to carry to high altitudes. Construction and maintenance of these are also not efficient in terms of manpower and resources.

However, even as the second largest army in the world is headed for an overhaul, soldiers are still deprived of modern infantry weapons such as assault rifles and sniper guns.

Recently, Army Chief Bipin Rawat underlined the need to induct “small arms” for infantry battalion, the Times of India reported.

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According to the report, around 12 lakh army men require 8,18,500 new-generation assault rifles, 4,18,300 close-quarter battle carbines, 43,700 light machine guns and 5,679 sniper rifles.

Attempts to acquire weapons from abroad or manufacture them domestically have been hindered over time for a variety of reasons.

Additionally, the Army now wants to induct 5,679 new 8.6mm sniper rifles to replace its old 7.62mm Dragunov sniper rifles (800-metre range). The 8.6mm sniper rifles have an effective kill range of 1,200m, with modern magnification and bipod stands, the report said.

At the end of August this year, the Army started the first phase of its long-due reforms. But it did not focus on artillery.

Army Reforms- Phase I (1)

The government said it had decided to implement 65 of the 99 reforms recommended by the Lt-Gen. (retd) D.B. Shekatkar committee that submitted its report last year. The reforms aimed to enhance the combat potential of the army while optimising the cost.
first published: Oct 17, 2017 01:21 pm

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