Wait by the UAE based Caracal continues for a decision to be taken on the close-quarter-battle carbines (CQB), for the Indian Army. The deal worth $553 million for 93,895 CQB, has been stuck for almost two years now. Sources have confirmed to Financial Express Online that, “A UAE government delegation recently met with senior officials at the Indian mission in Abu Dhabi. The main agenda was the long delay in the signing of the deal for Close Quarter Carbine (CQB) for the Infantry soldiers.”
This deal was put on Fast Track Procurement (FTP) as the Indian Army requires these CQBs urgently. As has been reported by Financial Express Online the UAE based company Caracal was declared as L1 in 2018 after having fulfilled all the requirements and procedures laid down in the DPP.
The issue of delay on the final decision by the Indian side has been raised at various levels including at recent meeting in Abu Dhabi.
Though there is still a lack of clarity on the reason about dealy, sources have indicated “While the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is keen to add `Make in India’ clause, the Indian Army Headquarters is keen to conclude this deal fast as the CQBs are needed on an urgent basis. ”
“There is a possibility of the deal being inked before the year ends. And this will help the soldiers,” added the source.
Several presentations have been made to the office of the CDS, outlining the reasons for the urgent requirement for the carbines. To push the `Make in India’ initiative, the MoD plans to initiate the procedure for CQBs to be made here locally, as several Indian companies have offered to manufacture here,” a senior officer indicated.
These CQBs are a critical weapon for the troops posted in the Valley and on the Line of Control, to deal with the constant terrorist attacks from the Pakistan side. And with China becoming belligerent along the LAC, the LOC is becoming more active, and this is why the Indian Army wants to ensure the procurement is expedited.
Indian company Bharat Forge along with the European company Thales has offered to make these CQBs here locally and at the same price as being offered by the UAE based company.
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The story so far for the CQB
It is now 19 months since the company after going through extensive trials in India in different terrains as well outside the country was declared L1. During the trials, Indian ammunition was used in the CQBs made in UAE. However, there were several representations by companies which had failed to clear the trials. And to studies those representations an Oversight Committee led by a Brigadier rank officer was set up which went through them and has submitted its report to the MoD. “The representations made to the MoD basically stated that the UAE based company has no facility to fulfil India’s order and this could delay the delivery of 93,895 CQBs,” said an officer.
What happens under FTP?
Once the government decides to procure through this route then the delivery has to be made within one year from the time the contract is signed.
Who were the other bidders?
S&T Motiv of South Korea & European Company Thales.