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India's elite forces to get US firepower
January 14, 2006 02:19 IST
The process of modernisation of the Indian Army's elite Special Forces has been kicked off with the necessary equipment being identified and acquired, Army Chief Gen J J Singh said on Friday.
''We are paying due attention to the modernisation of the Special Forces. The Army has identified 40 items as necessary for the purpose. Out of these, 20 are extremely specialised and are available from the US... we are acquiring them through the Foreign Military Sales route,'' he said on the eve of Army Day.
The Army chief said an empowered committee comprising senior officials had visited the US and 'seen and selected the requisite items'.
''We hope to get these items within the next six months... one year at the latest,'' he said.
Regarding the remaining 20 items, Gen Singh said they would be acquired within the next one or two years.
''Nevertheless, one must remember that the Army's Special Forces -- which are tasked with being in the forefront of all offensive operations -- have performed well,'' he said.
The Indian Army presently has five battalions of Special Forces, drawn out of the total ten battalions of the Parachute Regiment.
Meanwhile, Gen Singh asserted that there was no problem with either the indigenously designed Main Battle Tank Arjun or the 5.56 mm INSAS rifle, as recent reports had pointed out.
''The INSAS is a first-rate weapon. As with all weapon systems, there are small areas of improvement, which we constantly point out. These are being addressed,'' he said.
Regarding Arjun, the Army chief said the Defence Research and Development Organisation was currently trying out the tank in the deserts.
''Next month, the DRDO will make the tank available to us for comparative trials, which we will hold with the T-72 and the T-90s,'' he said.
Noting that the Army had already placed an indent of 124 tanks with the Ordnance Factory Board, he said they would raise two regiments equipped with Arjun.
''The Arjun is a world-class tank... we will use them in the sectors where they are the most effective,'' Gen Singh said.