File photo of Army Chief General M.M. Naravane at Leh to review security situation and operational preparedness along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh | Photo: Twitter/@adgpi
File photo of Army Chief General M.M. Naravane at Leh to review security situation and operational preparedness along the Line of Actual Control in Eastern Ladakh | Photo: Twitter | @adgpi
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New Delhi: The Army is equipping its troops amid a stand-off with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) along the LAC in Ladakh with new assault rifles bought from the US — SIG 716 — under emergency procurement, ThePrint has learnt.

While the initial lot of the modern assault rifles from the US was sent to those guarding the Line of Control with Pakistan and for counter-terrorism operations in Kashmir, troops at the LAC in the northern sector in Ladakh are also being equipped with it.

It (Sig Sauer Rifles) should have reached them by now,” said a highly-placed source in the government, when asked if the troops at the frontlines in Ladakh are armed with the erstwhile INSAS rifles or the new American ones.

The Army had in February last year ordered 72,400 SIG 716 G2 Patrol assault/battlefield 7.62×51 mm rifles for its frontline troops and the American firm has completed the delivery.

These were meant to replace the obsolete Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56×45 mm rifles.

The rest of the force is supposed to be equipped with the AK 203, which is to be manufactured jointly by Russia and India under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.


Also read: China makes it official, wants to revert to 1959 LAC India has rejected many times


Approval for additional procurement of SIG rifles

Meanwhile, the Defence Acquisition Council Tuesday accorded approval for the procurement of additional 72,400 SIG 716 rifles for approximately Rs 780 crore.

This has been done again under a fast-tracked procurement process and is part of the option clause of the original deal signed last year.

This would mean that over 1.4 lakh 7.62×51 mm rifles in total will be bought off the shelf from the US without the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

“The rifles are modern and give the desired fire power needed for our infantry soldiers, be it in any sector,” a second source said.

As reported by ThePrint, there have been at least four instances of opening of fire at the LAC. In all the instances, the shots were fired in the air as warning shots.

However, the Chinese have been told that Indian forces have the permission to open fire to defend themselves, and Chinese tactics of “using mass” — or seeking to outnumber Indian soldiers, like in the 15 June Galwan Valley clash — will not be tolerated.

India has pumped in over 40,000 additional troops backed by artillery, tanks, missile systems and air defence into Ladakh following the tensions that first began in May this year.

There are multiple specialised units of the Indian Army in action in Ladakh carrying a host of modern weapons.


Also read: Security in eastern Ladakh at uneasy ‘no war no peace’ status, says IAF chief Bhadauria


 

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3 Comments Share Your Views

3 COMMENTS

  1. Wonder if the Chinese really wanted a confrontation.
    The first attempt to bully was at Galwan, the unarmed confrontation with resultant heavy casualties were not factored in by the Chinese.
    The second attempt was to try and dominate with bigger force and visible display of infrastructure capabilities.
    Once again the response by way of equal number of troop build up and display of air power and other counters to the display of infrastructure was not expected by Chinese.
    So if a full scale confrontation is not what the Chinese are looking for then until the summit in Oct. some ups and downs will be seen, with an honorable exit.

    • A column in media today reads: “Late on September 22 evening, a full day after the conclusion of the sixth round of talks between Indian and Chinese military commanders, the two sides issued a joint statement that agreed to ‘earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, strengthen communication on the ground, avoid misunderstandings, stop sending more troops to the frontline, refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground and avoid taking any action that might complicate the situation.’ Notably, the statement made no mention of any of India’s core concerns: A troop pull-back by China and a reversion to the status quo ante of April. Senior government sources say that, during previous talks, China’s People’s Liberation Army hardened its stance, conveying to the Indian Army that it must vacate five-six tactically dominating heights it occupied south of the Pangong Tso lake. Only after that would the PLA consider any further withdrawal from areas that the Chinese have occupied. …… It is unclear whether the Indian side has also demanded a Chinese withdrawal from Depsang, where PLA troops have penetrated about 15 kilometres into India — the deepest point of intrusion.”

      “Instead of disengagement, the Indian and Chinese armies have deployed an estimated 35,000 to 40,000 soldiers each along the LAC.
      The PLA has deployed S-400 air defence missiles to neutralise the IAF’s advantage in air power.”

      It looks like the Chinese intent to stay where they are in Ladakh for a long time.

  2. I am sure Chinese-friendly Indian media and the Indian National Congress will soon start questioning whether tenders were floated and if the lowest qualified bidder was chosen- anything to help their masters in the chinese Communist Party

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