Army seeks approval for 370 new DSC platoons
The Army has sought approval for the creation of 370 new platoons (about 18,000 personnel) of the Defence Security Corps, for increased security around military establishments. It has proposed equipping each platoon with light machine guns, bullet-proof jackets, AK-47 assault rifles, and proper security gear. The initial costs, apart from equipment and manpower, are estimated at Rs. 1.3cr.
Several parliamentary committees had severely criticized the defence ministry for the "critical shortage" of bullet-proof jackets. Even the existing ones were bulky and at the end of their shelf lives. The government had been reprimanded for "playing with the lives" of soldiers. It was further pointed out that Indian foot soldiers lacked modern assault rifles, carbines, light machine guns, light weight ballistic helmets etc.
The process of acquisition of the 1.86 lakh bullet-proof jackets was first cleared in October 2009 by the Defence Acquisition Council as per the Army's technical parameters.
The Army has inked an agreement with Tata Advanced Materials Limited for Rs.140 crores to procure 50,000 "emergency" bullet-proof jackets. The modern light-weight jackets will protect the "head, neck, chest, groin and sides" of the foot-soldiers as well as enable them to move with greater agility in "unfriendly terrain". Manohar Parrikar had approved this "interim emergency acquisition" in November 2014.
Defence ministry said on Monday that a contract for 1,58,279 light-weight ballistic helmets, worth Rs.170 crore, is on the verge of completion. The Army has been demanding these helmets for two decades now because the existing ones are bulky and provide protection from only splinters and rocks. It will be the second such deal to ensure better personal-protection, after procurement of 50,000 bullet-proof jackets.
The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has given its jawans snow scooters to enable smooth patrolling in the Himalayas along the 3,488km Indo-China border. This move was aimed at reducing travel time and increasing efficiency. According to officials, the scooters are procured from a US-based firm and cost around Rs. 1 crore. The first lot will be deployed at border-locations of Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim.
On Thursday, 'Swati', the weapon locating radar of the Defence Research and Development Organization was handed over to the Indian Army. According to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, doing so would reduce artillery fire from across the border. Officials say 4 radars deployed along LoC have already led to a reduction in artillery fire from Pakistan. Currently, India has ordered 30 such radars.