oppn parties Borders Cannot Be Secured With Outdated Rifles, Find The Funds Fast

News Snippets

  • In reply to a question in Parliament, the government says it is empowered to lawfully intercept, monitor or decrpyt information stored in a computer resource in the interest of sovereignty or integrity of India
  • Police stop a 12-year old girl on her way to the Sabarimala shrine
  • In Karnataka, the JD(S) indicates that it might support the BJP government if it falls short of numbers after the bypolls
  • Congress pips the BJP in local body elections in Rajasthan, winning 961 wards to the BJPs 737
  • After Airtel and Vodafone-Idea, Jio also indicates that tariffs will be raised from December
  • Sources in Shiv Sena say that they might revive the alliance with the BJP if it offers the 50:50 deal
  • A miffed Sanjay Rout of the Shiv Sena says that it will take "100 births" to understand Sharad Pawar
  • Mobile operators Vodafone-Idea and Airtel decide to raise tariffs from next month
  • Sharad Pawar meets Sonia Gandhi and says more time needed for government formation in Maharashtra
  • Justice S A Bobde sworn in as the 47th Chief Justice of India
  • Supreme Court holds hotels liable for theft of vehicle from their parking area if parked by valet, says "owner's risk" clause is not a shield from such liability
  • Finance Minister says she is receiving feedback from many sectors that recovery is happening as there is lower stress
  • Sabarimala temple opens, but police bar the entry of women below 50 years
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman says Air India and BPCL to be sold off by March
  • Media person Rajat Sharma resigns as DDCA president
Two Muslim litigants in Ayodhya refuse to accept the Supreme Court order, say review petition might be filed
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Borders Cannot Be Secured With Outdated Rifles, Find The Funds Fast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.