The Indian Army is going to place another order of 72,000 Sig 716 assault rifles from the United States, amid the ongoing dispute with China over boundary issue. The order for the second batch of the assault rifles would be coming after the first lot of 72,000 rifles, has already been delivered to the Army for use by troops in Northern Command and other operational areas. "We are going to place an order for 72,000 more of these rifles under the financial powers granted to the armed forces," Defence sources told ANI.
The Indian Army had received the first lot of Sig Sauer assault rifles to boost its counter-terrorism operations. India had acquired the rifles under the fast-track procurement (FTP) programme. The new rifles will replace the existing Indian Small Arms System (Insas) 5.56x45mm rifles used by the forces and manufactured locally by the Ordnance Factories Board.
As per the plan, around 1.5 lakh imported rifles were to be used by the troops in the counter-terrorism operations and frontline duties on the Line of Control (LoC), the remaining forces would be provided with the AK-203 rifles, which are to be produced jointly by India and Russia at Amethi ordnance factory.
The work on the project is yet to start due to several procedural issues faced by the two sides.
The Indian Army had been trying to replace their standard INSAS assault rifles for many years but the attempts failed due to one reason or the other.
Recently, the Defence Ministry placed an order of 16,000 light machine guns (LMGs) from Israel to do away with the shortage of these guns.
India and China are in a stand-off position in Eastern Ladakh as the Chinese Army has deployed more than 20,000 of its troops there without any provocation since May first week.
Though there has been disengagement on the front, the Chinese have still maintained heavy troops presence in the rear areas.
(With ANI inputs)