Army’s Infantry Soldiers Grappling With Small Arms Shortage; Leadership Plans to Plug The Gap in Demand And Supply
New Delhi, Oct 16: The infantry soldiers of the Army are grappling with a shortage of small arms like assault rifles, sniper guns, light machine guns and carbines due to the scrapping of acquisition projects and the absence of indigenous replacements.
According to a report in the Times of India, long delays in the acquisition of small arms and the resulting shortage featured in the Army commanders’ conference last week. Army chief General Bipin Rawat told other commanders that the approach of the army toward procurement needed to be balanced and focussed at the right places.
The report further said the Army needed 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. Plans are to plug the gap between demand and supply.
The TOI report said that the Army plans to develop indigenous weapons have not materialised so far. The Army had launched a global hunt to replace Indian-made assault rifle INSAS due to its glitch-prone nature. Now the technical requirements for the new assault rifle have been finalised and the case will be moved for the approval of the defence ministry. The Army is also testing a new 7.62mm x 51mm rifle developed by Rifle Factory, Ishapore.
Similarly, the Army had scrapped a project to procure the 5.56*44mm carbines with a range of 200 m– now it has relaunched the procurement proceedings. The Army is also inducting 5,679 new 8.6 mm sniper rifles to replace 7.62 mm Dragunov rifles that were imported from Russia in 1990.