The Indian Army plans to buy just 1,800 state-of-the-art sniper rifles and 2.7 million rounds of ammunition -- less than a third of its total requirement -- driven by budgetary constraints and the need to speed up deliveries, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The military pruned its original requirement of 5,720 sniper rifles and 10 million rounds of ammunition, which would have cost $140 million, to prioritize spending and advance the purchase of more modern equipment, they said, asking not to be identified as the information isn’t public.
Indian Army spokesman Aman Anand said he had no comment to offer on the change in procurement plans.
The Indian armed forces have 450,000 infantry soldiers, of whom only half go into ground battle and an even smaller number of them use sniper rifles to take out specific enemy targets through precision firing.
The move is part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $250-billion modernization plan for the Indian defense forces, as the infantry soldiers continue to face the brunt of deadly attacks in disputed border areas such as Kashmir and the northeast.
Plans to buy new equipment from global manufacturers, however, has been hit by bureaucratic delays and the Modi government’s desire to meet the needs of the armed forces through the domestic industry under his ‘Make in India’ initiative, a key plank to boost local defense manufacturing and woo his core supporters.
The 1.3 million-strong Indian Army’s previous efforts to buy 5,720 sniper rifles in a process that began in Feb. 2018 was scrapped in July this year after four vendors, including the U.S.-based Barrett, Indonesia’s PT Pindad and Russia’s Rosoboronexport, failed to meet technical requirements, such as technology transfers for manufacturing the ammunition by local industry.
Through the new bid to buy a smaller quantity of 8.6 mm sniper rifles and .338 Lapua Magnum ammunition, India wants to overcome the hurdles in first identifying the vendor to buy them in a fast-track mode, before placing future orders for 4,000 more sniper rifles.
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10 Comments on this Story
vivek beri378 days ago
Satbir Jangra379 days ago
Leaders often sloganeer claiming no shortage of arms to the forces is all lies. A foot soldier requires quality rifle, he awaits for years to get the one. Left to fight on borders with vintage, rotten weapons and bound to suffer. Forces'' requirements are considered secondary and burden on the treasury but politicians'' n national security is prime. How is it?
Better all of us, 130 bn citizens, contribute ₹10/head to equip the forces better. They keep us safe risking their lives on borders and within. Honestly deserve good war fighting accessories,
Rohit Joshi379 days ago
What is so surprising about this ? With the extant payscales, perks & pension benefits, there is no money left for buying the very arms which are required for the armed forces to do their jobs.Very soon, the 7th Pay Commission will come.Time to start training the armed forces to throw stones ?