New Delhi: Seeking to enhance operational capabilities of the troops, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has approved issuing of lighter and advanced combat kits for around seven lakh soldiers.
The troops will also get improved physical training (PT) shoes replacing their canvas footwear used for the purpose, Army officials said here on Friday.
Till now, the Improved Combat Kits (ICK) were being issued only to infantry personnel but after the sanction from the Army Chief, they would be provided to around seven lakh troops who are supposed to use such equipment, they said.
An ICK, which costs around Rs 5,000, is used by soldiers during operational duties which includes light pouches for carrying rifle magazines, green belt and two bags to take blankets, mosquito nets and rations which allow them to survive for two days, they said.
Along with enhancing capabilities of troops, this step would also bring in uniformity among personnel belonging to various arms including artillery, armoured, signals, engineers and service corps.
On the issue of new PT shoes for troops, they said the matter was stuck over the use of leather content but now the force will soon take a call on buying either `Adidas-type or Reebok-type` shoes.
They said the quality of blankets issued to the troops has also been improved from the World War-II-type black blankets to new branded ones with more wool content in them.
To bring in homogeneity in uniforms of troops, the Army has also decided to issue clothing manufactured by the ordnance factories to the soldiers and pay Rs 225 to them to get it stitched as per their fitting.
"This arrangement is being tested for two years and if we find that satisfaction level among troops that their uniform has improved, it would be made permanent," they said.