New Delhi: CRPF, which is deployed for anti- Naxal operations, has decided to shun its standard weapon of combat, the indigenous INSAS rifle, and henceforth arm its troops exclusively with the AK series of assault rifles.
The force has also sought to procure 20,000 new AK series rifles for its troops deployed in the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas in various states and counter-insurgency theatres in the North-East after it found that the INSAS rifle was not proving to be as "operationally suitable" as the Russian made AK-47 and -56 series of combat rifles.
The country`s largest paramilitary force, with its three lakh personnel, is now planning to reduce the numbers of INSAS rifles in its armoury after a technical and scientific comparison with the sophisticated AK rifles found that the latter was more effective.
Field commanders of the force deployed in the anti-Naxal operations grid said they were increasingly sending the INSAS to the weapon repairs store of the force.
The Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) rifle has been the primary weapon of the force for a number of years now and it is even relied upon by the Indian Army for use by its troops in various combat theatres.
The INSAS was developed for the first time in late 1980s by the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) for aid of the Indian infantry forces.
"INSAS was never the preferred weapon for us in operational areas like in the Left Wing Extremism theatre. We have found that our men are more confident with the AK series rifles," Central Reserve Police Force chief Dilip Trivedi told PTI.
The Director General, however, said INSAS will continue to remain in the force as CRPF has a multi-faceted role in the internal security domain of the country which includes dealing with law and order problems and conduct of elections among others.