(This was originally posted in Times Now by Srinjoy Chowdhury)
India’s special forces– the paratroopers and commandos– are getting new much-needed weaponry. The additional firepower comes in the form of 716 General Purpose Machine Guns from the United States. These could be very useful as the special forces units in Jammu and Kashmir are always there to fight off terror attacks. The machine guns are being purchased for the SF units for about Rs 400 crore through the American FMS or Foreign Military Sales route.
India has purchased a large number of weapon systems from the USA, including a large consignment of light howitzers that can be deployed in the mountains, using the FMS route. This is a direct government-to-government transfer of weaponry without any tenders and then, long-winded procedures. While the weapons may cost a little more, they will arrive quite soon. The purchase is likely to be cleared at the next meeting of the Defence Procurement Board, headed by defence secretary Ajay Kumar, and if necessary, the meeting of the apex Defence Acquisition Council headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh.