‘Indian Army’s war reserves below critical level’
New Delhi: The Army has pressed the panic button: it doesn’t have sufficient reserves of certain ammunition needed to secure the country in case a war is to be fought in the near future.
According to a report in a leading English daily, the Army has apprised the government in writing that some of its ammunition war reserves are currently below critical levels.
Following the development, the Defence Ministry has begun procuring ammo on an emergency basis, in some cases without adherence to the offsets policy. The policy lays down that if a foreign firm sells more than Rs 300 crore worth of ammo in a single transaction, it must re-invest 30 percent back in India.
The war reserves for certain ammunitions have declined mainly because of the blacklisting of certain firms by the government in the recent past. For example, Israel Military Industries (IMI) used to supply tank ammunition called the Armoured Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS). However, after the government blacklisted the firm and ordered a CBI probe against it, the number of APFSDS rounds in reserve with the Army have fallen to a critical level.
At present, the report said, the Army needs nearly 66,000 APFSDS rounds as an “immediate operational necessity”. The Army is facing a similar shortage of ammunition for the Smerch multi-barrel rocket launcher systems.
The blacklisting has forced the Army to look for fresh suppliers; however suppliers for such ammunition are few and most of them are quoting a very high price for the ammo.
The government is also reported to have floated tenders to urgently purchase Bi-Modular Charge (BMC) systems, which are critical to the upgraded 130-mm artillery guns’ operation at full capacity.