Indian Army personnel will soon get more firepower with Defence Ministry signing a contract on Tuesday to procure 72,400 7.6mm Sig Sauer assault rifles under fast-track procedures. The cost of the deal, according to news agency PTI, is approximately Rs 700 crore.
Aiming to modernise the infantry, India has signed the contract with the US for the assault rifles which are already being used by armed forces in the US and several European countries. According to PTI sources, the US firm will have to now deliver the rifles within a year. The Indian Army, therefore, will receive a bulk - 66,400 - of the assault rifles. The Indian Air Force will get 4,000 while the remaining 2,000 would be given to the Indian Navy.
The assault rifles could be a game changer for the Indian Army in particular and may be given to troops deployed in areas on the border with China. The need for such rifles was repeatedly pitched in view of evolving security threats from both China and Pakistan. The Indian armed forces are presently equipped with 5.56*45 mm INSAS Rifle. These INSAS rifles will be replaced with 7.62*51 mm assault rifle which according to defence ministry is compact, robust, modern in technology and simple to maintain in field conditions.
The Sig Sauer assault rifles are renowned for their firepower as well as reliability in extreme weather conditions. The company which manufactures them claims that the assault rifles can be invaluable for troops using them for tactical operations.
The Indian Army had previously rejected rifles from the Rifle Factory in Ishapore after they failed firing tests.
Meanwhile, the Defence Ministry on Tuesday also approved the proposal to acquire 54 HAROP drones from Israel.
(With inputs from Siddhant Sibbal)