oppn parties Borders Cannot Be Secured With Outdated Rifles, Find The Funds Fast

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  • Amit Panghal becomes first Indian male to win silver at the World Boxing Championships
  • "Gully Boy" to be India's entry for the Oscars
  • Rajeev Kumar called an "absconder" by the CBI
  • Alipore court refuses to grant anticipatory bail to Rajeev Kumar
  • Trump likely to sign a mini trade deal with India next week
  • Government planning a loan mela to cover 400 districts in two phases
  • PM Modi says Kashmiris need a hug from all Indians
  • NPA tag will not be put on any MSME till March 20
  • Government likely to announce another economic stimulus package today ahead of the GST Council meet in Goa
  • Air Marshall RKS Bhadauria, slated to retire just a few days from now, to be the next chief of IAF
  • PM Modi slams politicians from his own party who are making irresponsible statements on the Ayodhya case and tells them to wait for the Supreme Court order
  • Telecom panel says resident welfare associations (RWA) cannot give monopoly access to any one service provider and infrastructure in public spaces and residential complexes will have to be shared by all
  • Mamata Banerjee meets Amit Shah, tells him there is no need for an NRC in Bengal
  • After 14 days, there is no hope left for reviving Vikram, the moon lander
  • CBI teams search for elusive Rajeev Kumar
Election Commission announces elections in Maharashtra and Haryana on October 21. Counting and results on October 24. Bypolls, including for 15 seats in Karnataka, will be held simultaneously
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Borders Cannot Be Secured With Outdated Rifles, Find The Funds Fast

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The governmentÂ’s decision to cut modern rifles procurement for the infantry division of the Indian army by two-thirds is baffling, to say the least. Although 800000 modern rifles were required to replace the INSAS rifles being used since 1988, funds have now been sanctioned only for 250000 rifles. It is said that the order was pruned to prioritize spending and speed up delivery. Another reason is that out of the 450000 troopers in the infantry, only 250000 go to battle zone while the rest are support soldiers.

But the reality on the ground is different. Infantry troopers bear the brunt of the battle with India engaged in two war-like zones across the eastern and western frontiers. Also, with terrorism in J&K and Maoism in other parts of the country engaging the troops, it is extremely necessary for soldiers to have modern weapons to take on these ultras who are increasingly laced with sophisticated arms.

Once the decision is taken to prune the order, it becomes very difficult to get sanction for further order. Even if the army and the government wanted to speed up the order, the correct procedure should have been to get sanction for all 800000 lakh rifles at one go and order in tranches with a gap of 6 months to a year. For instance, 250000 rifles should have been ordered immediately and say another 200000 for delivery 6 months after the first delivery and the rest after 1 year. That would have speeded up the first delivery and ensured that the rest were kept in the loop. But now, given the bungling ways of the bureaucracy, it is not certain when, if at all, the rest of the rifles will be procured.

Further, even if half of the infantry troopers act as support soldiers, they have to be kept battle ready and be equipped exactly like the others. For, if they are required to go to the battle zone in an emergency, they cannot be expected to carry outdated and phased out INSAS rifles. With the Pakistani and Chinese armies modernizing their infantry, India cannot be caught napping. Indian soldiers need modern weapons to keep the country safe. It is upon the government to cut expenditure elsewhere but provide funds for the armed forces to keep them in battle readiness.