The Indian Army will place an order for only 2,50,000 modern assault rifles- just a third of its total requirement- driven by budgetary constraints and the need to speed up deliveries, reported the Bloomberg.
The 1.3 million-strong military pruned its original requirement for 8,00,000 rifles, which would have cost $2.5 billion, to prioritize spending and advance the purchase of more up-to-date equipment, sources said, asking not to be identified as the information is not yet public.
The defense force has 4,50,000 infantry troopers, of whom only half go into ground battle and use the rifle as their primary weapon. The rest are support soldiers, sources said.
The moves are part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s $250 billion push to modernize India’s armed forces, as infantry continue to face the brunt of deadly attacks in disputed border areas such as Kashmir and the north-east. Plans to buy new equipment from overseas, however, have been held back by bureaucratic delays and the military’s desire to balance the needs of its troops against efforts to build equipment domestically under Modi’s ‘Make in India’ program, a key plank in his drive to boost local manufacturing.