Hello Warriors. Ordinary infantry soldiers are still a long way from getting modern assault rifles and light-machine guns, new anti-tank weapons and light-weight ballistic helmets, but they are finally going to get desperately needed bullet-proof jackets after waiting for a decade long.
According to the news reports, the Indian Army desperately needs 3,53,765 new bullet-proof vests; 50,000 of these will be obtained now for which it had signed an “emergency” procurement contract worth Rs 140 crores with Tata Advanced Materials Limited, a subsidiary of the Tata Group.
This came when Manohar Parrikar approved this “interim emergency acquisition” through the “revenue route” soon after he took over as Defence minister in November 2014.
As many as 1.86 lakh jackets were to be supplied to soldiers by 2012 and another 1.67 lakh vests were to be supplied by 2017. None have been acquired till date. Well, giving a new light to the hopes, 50,000 jackets are expected be delivered from August, 2016 onwards and the remaining by jackets by January 2017. However, the procurement is paltry against the 1.18-million strong Army.
The modern light-weight jackets, as per the Army’s new technical specifications, were meant to adequately protect the head, neck, chest, groin and sides of foot-soldiers. They would also allow soldiers to move with greater agility during counter-insurgency operations in difficult “unfriendly” terrain.
The Army’s existing bulky bullet-proof vests – with poor protection – are near the end of their operational life.
The “capital procurement” of 1.86 lakh modular jackets was scrapped in October 2015 because the samples offered by six vendors “failed” to clear field trials.
However, when the samples failed to meet requirements, the Army vice-chief’s existing financial powers were “relaxed as a one-time exception” to ensure the urgent purchase of 50,000 jackets based on older technical specifications.
Now, the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) have introduced a prototype bullet-proof jacket, which also aims to protect against AK-47s and self-loading rifle bullets.
The critical shortage of bullet-proof jackets have attracted criticism from all quarters as people say government is playing with the lives of the soldiers.
Finally, the soldiers will now get some relief. Do our dedicated soldiers really need these jackets when only few of them get to wear those? What do you think about this?