March 31st, 2016
Source: The Times of India | Image Courtesy: voanews imgur bharat-rakshak intoday
Army to get 50,000 bullet-proof jackets after a decade
After a decade’s wait, the Indian army is set to get an ’emergency’ procurement of 50,000 bullet-proof jackets. For this, the Army has signed a contract worth Rs 140 crore with Tata Advanced Materials Limited, a subsidiary of the Tata Group.
The jackets will be delivered from August onwards and all the jackets will be delivered by January 2017, The Times of India reported.
Why such delay?
There is a huge dearth of bullet-proof jackets in the country with 1.18-million strong army. The delay is mainly caused by ‘convoluted procurement procedures’. Besides, in October 2015, the government had to scrap a tender of 1.86 lakh modular jackets because the samples that were offered, failed to clear field trials.
This dire need for more bullet-proof jackets has led Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to approve this ‘interim emergency acquisition’ in November 2014.
In October 2009, the Defence Acquisitions Council had cleared procurement of 3,53,765 bullet-proof jackets. Of which, 1.86 lakh jackets were to be inducted by 2012 and the remaining 1.67 lakh by 2017. But till now, no new jackets have been inducted. Whilst, the existing bulky jackets have worn out with time and protection they offer is very poor.
The 50,000 jackets will somewhat fill dearth, but still there is a long way to go.
While new bullet-proof jackets are being inducted, there is also an immense need of bullet-proof helmets for the CRPF jawans. There is a 98 per cent shortage of such helmets. Since head injuries are one of the primary reason for fatality in conflict-ridden zones, it is endangering the lives of our soldiers.
While countries like the US and China are making strides with modern weapons, our foot soldiers lack modern assault rifles, light-machine guns, new anti-tank weapons.
The Logical Indian thanks the Defence Ministry to finally being able to induct these long-needed bullet-proof jackets. At the same time, the no. of bullet proof jackets that is being provided is insufficient. We urge the government to address these problems as early as possible.