Speed up project to modernise infantry: Ex-Army official
New Delhi: A former Army officer has sought speeding up a project to enhance lethality and mobility of the foot soldier by turning him into a "a self-contained fighting machine", saying modernisation of the infantry has not been given its due so far.
"There is need to not only hasten the F-INSAS (Future Infantry Soldier As a System) project but also holistically review whether there is a need to go beyond and meet the soldier modernisation of the entire security sector including the paramilitary and police forces," Prakash Katoch, a former Lt Gen in the Indian Army's Special Forces said.
He also recommended that all military, paramilitary and police forces involved in counter-insurgency and counter- terrorist operations "need to be met in integrated fashion at the national level".
Continuous focus was needed to decrease load and significantly improve effectiveness of the infantryman so as to increase in lethality, survivability and mobility by making the soldier 'a self-contained fighting machine', Katoch said in an article in the latest issue of security journal 'Indian Defence Review'.
From weapons, body armour, clothing and all-weather, all-terrain equipment to night-vision devices, radio and IT connectivity (like palmtop GPS devices), have to be provided under the F-INSAS programme, he said.
Mini Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and medium range surveillance devices which can be fitted in the backpacks of soldiers should be developed urgently, he said, referring to their successful operations by US forces in Afghanistan.
"Modernisation of the infantry has not been given its due in past decades. This must be treated as an emergent requirement considering the emerging threats within and surrounding the country, especially considering the rate at which terrorists are achieving sophistication," Katoch said.