The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Army shopping list lengthens

New Delhi, Sept. 8: A Cabinet Committee on Security meeting last week that approved the purchase of the Advanced Jet Trainer for the Indian Air Force for Rs 8,000 crore, has also okayed a major upgradation programme for the army that will cost the government more than Rs 3,000 crore over four years.

About a fourth of the expenses will be incurred this year.

The shopping list that the committee has approved includes a mix of equipment that will be indigenously procured as well as imported.

The nature of much of the equipment indicates that a major upgradation of counter-terrorist military hardware has been taken up by the army.

The size of the procurements being made also clearly points to the fact that crucial infantry units and counter-insurgency wings are being reinforced and re-equipped.

A peep into the shopping list:

More than 250 Kornet E Anti- Tank Guided Missile Launchers (ATGM) at a cost of more than Rs 150 crore. These will be for use mostly by army units with the mountain divisions. More than 3,000 Kornet E ATGM missiles for about Rs 450 crore. The launchers are to be bought this year and the purchase of the missiles will be staggered

About 1,500 Anti Material Rifles with over 400,000 rounds of ammunition for around Rs 300 crore of which about Rs 60 crore is to be spent this year. Anti Material Rifles have a range of up to 1.8 km and are used for bunker-busting. Much of this task is at present done by using rocket launchers that are chiefly anti-tank weapons

More than 2,000 hand-held thermal imagers (for night vision) from France and Israel for close to Rs 550 crore of which Rs 100 crore will be spent this year. Part of this procurement will go to the Rashtriya Rifles, the main counter-insurgency force in Kashmir

More than 4,000 84 mm Mark III rocket launchers with ammunition for about Rs 350 crore of which Rs 100 crore will be spent this year

More than 50,000 new generation carbines for close to Rs 500 crore. Trials for the selection of the weapon are on. The purchase is likely to be made this year

More than 6,000 light-weight assault rifles with night sights for Rs 30 crore

About 100 silencer pistols for Rs 50 lakh to be bought this year

More than 50 micro Uzi (Israeli) sub-carbines with night sights and silencers this year for more than Rs 1 crore. The micro Uzis would be given to special forces

About 3,000 Under Barrel Grenade Launchers all to be bought in the current year for the Rashtriya Rifles for about Rs 50 crore

Rs 25 crore for more than 1,500 night sights/optical sights for AK 47 rifles.

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