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Army to get modern assault rifles, carbines

High power: The plan is to import a high-tech rifle in small numbers for the soldiers on the front lines.

High power: The plan is to import a high-tech rifle in small numbers for the soldiers on the front lines.   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

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Government-to-government deal for much-awaited buys

The Defence Ministry on Tuesday cleared the procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 close quarter battle (CQB) carbines for the Army on a fast-track basis. Both the deals had been repeatedly cancelled in the past.

“The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) also cleared procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines on fast-track basis for ₹3,547 crore to enable the defence forces to meet their immediate requirement for the troops deployed on the borders,” the Ministry said in a statement. The assault rifles will be of 7.62mm calibre, while the carbines will be of 5.56mm calibre.

Faster purchase

The proposals are likely to be processed under the government-to-government route to conclude the deals at the earliest.

Last week, the Chief of the Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat, said that to meet the immediate requirement and keeping cost in mind, the Army had decided to go for two different rifles — import a high-tech rifle in small numbers for the infantry soldiers on the front lines and procure the indigenous rifle in large numbers to meet the balance requirement.

“Procurement of assault rifles got delayed due to change in the GSQR. We are now going for procurement of an assault rifle with 500-m range with night -ision capability,” Gen. Rawat said.

In another decision, the DAC chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman simplified the ‘Make II’ procedure, which prescribes guidelines “to develop and manufacture defence equipment through Indian industry”.

“The salient aspects of the revised procedure will now allow the Ministry of Defence to accept suo motu proposals from the industry and also allows start-ups to develop equipment for the armed forces. The minimum qualification criteria to participate in the ‘Make II’ projects hace also been relaxed by removing conditions related to credit rating and reducing financial net worth criteria,” the statement said.

Now all vendors meeting the criteria will be allowed to participate in the prototype development process instead of only two vendors earlier. In addition there is no need to submit detailed project report.

After the accord of approval by the Council, all clearances will be accorded by the Service Head-Quarters (SHQ) which will also set up project facilitation teams to hand-hold the industry.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 3:10:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/army-to-get-modern-assault-rifles-carbines/article22451650.ece

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