Government empowers Army to procure weapons systems, military platforms for short intense wars
The decision will allow the Army to procure critical ammunition and spares without a nod from the Defence Acquisition Council headed by Defence Minister Arun Jaitley or the Cabinet Committee on Security.
The Union Government in July 2017 empowered the Army to directly procure critical weapons systems and military platforms to maintain combat readiness for short duration intense wars. This decision will help the Army to complete the procurement process for such ammunition and equipment in a faster way.
Reports suggest that the Army vice-chief Sarath Chand has been given the full financial powers to procure ammunitions. The decision was made after an internal review found that the optimum holding state was not maintained in a proper way.
As part of the decision, the Army has been allowed to procure 46 types of ammunition and spares for 10 different types of weapons systems. Another proposal to allow the Army to procure 20 types of armament and 6 types of mines is also under consideration.
The procedure will be part of revenue procurement of the Army for in-service equipment and weapons and it will not require going through numerous procurement stages which often cause inordinate delays.
The Army has been pressing the government for ensuring speedy procurement of key military platforms citing evolving security challenges.
At present, the Indian Army is facing a severe shortage of ammunition, mainly for artillery guns, tanks and air defence and infantry weapons. Shortage of ammunition and equipment will make it difficult for the army to fight a short intense war, which lasts for 10 to 15 days.
Why can the decision be termed as a brilliant one or a 'masterstroke' by the Government?
The decision that aims at filling the voids in Army’s combat readiness can be termed as a masterstroke by the government as it is taken at a time when India is facing a challenge at LoC as well as at the LAC.
Challenge at LAC (Line of Actual Control): India-China Sikkim border standoff (nearly a month-long) in the Dokalam area near the Bhutan trijunction over a road by China. This standoff has resulted in the creation of tension in the Sino-Indian relation.
Dokalam is the Bhutanese name of the region which is recognised by India as Doka La, which is also India’s last military post on the trijunction of its boundary with Bhutan and China.
However, China claims the area as a part of its Donglang region.
China-Bhutan & India-Bhutan Relation
Bhutan has no diplomatic ties with China and it is supported diplomatically and militarily by India.
Reports suggest that at present, China and Bhutan are engaged in talks over the resolution of the area.
Challenge at LoC (Line of Control): Indo-Pak tension along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir has heightened in recent past as the two sides in 2016 stalled the peace process. At present, they are engaged in trading heavy fire at the border raising fears of a large-scale conflict in near future.
(The story is based on the reports published by leading media houses)