Special Forces of the Indian Army, who participated in the surgical strikes in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, had to fight against the terrorists with old weapons, even as Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had instructed to replace their weapons with “modern options” in June last year.
According to an IE report, the Special Forces had to participate in the surgical strikes with old weapons because of a delay in the procurement of the new weapons. The cost of the procurement of the new weapons is expected to be around Rs 180 crore.
In June last year, Parrikar had ordered to modernise the weapons on a “fast-track basis”. According to the report, the idea of new weapons was shared to the Defence Minister by the Army during a presentation after the cross-border operation in Myanmar by the Special Forces.
The proposal to modernise SF was prepared by the directorate of Military Operations, following consultations with the Special Forces Training School, SF battalions and other stakeholders. According to IE, this involved buying six types of weapons: 1,200 modern personal automatic rifles, 36 sniper rifles, 36 automatic GPMGs (General Purpose Machine Guns), 24 lightweight rocket-launchers, 24 shotguns and 500 pistols. All the weapons, to be equipped with day and night sights, would have to be imported.
An official said that at present none of the SF battalions has a GPMG, which has been authorised for them. They have to depend on MMGs (Medium Machine Guns) like the infantry battalions or PIKA guns.
The official told IE that SF has to face restriction on ammunition for training and there is also a shortage of underwater diving equipment and free-fall parachutes.
The proposal to replace old weapons is still being considered a measure to meet the urgent gaps as the present state of equipment for the Armed forces continues to be “poor”.
Sources told IE that the proposal in now in the final stages of preparation.