Amid China Dispute, India to Get More Excalibur Ammunition From US for M777 Howitzers
Source- India Today
- Amid the ongoing dispute with China, India is going to place orders for more Excalibur precision-guided ammunition for M-777 Howitzer guns from the United States under the emergency financial powers granted to the armed forces by the Centre.
- “There is a plan to place orders for more rounds of the Excalibur ammunition from the US under the Vice-Chief financial powers,” defence sources told Aajtak and India Today TV.
- The plan is to upgrade the strength of Army battalions deployed with the M-777 guns in the forward areas in the Eastern Ladakh sector, they said.
- India had first placed an order for the Excalibur ammunition in May-June last year after the Balakot operations.
- The Excalibur ammunition has more range and better accuracy that makes it lethal can hit targets at 40-50 km depending on the artillery gun used.
- Ready for an all-out conflict with China in view of the ongoing dispute at the border, the Narendra Modi government had granted big financial power this week to the defence forces under which they can buy any weapon system under Rs 500 crore.
- “The three services have been granted the financial powers by the Narendra Modi government to buy weapon systems under an emergency requirement procedure. Now they can buy any in inventory or new weapon up to Rs 500 crore for each project under these powers,” government sources told India Today TV.
- Under the project, the defence forces, in consultation with the Department of Military Affairs, can go in for buying any weapon which they feel would be required for warfighting or are short of in their inventory,” the sources said.
- The latest round of weapon acquisition comes as Army Chief Gen MM Naravane is on a two-day visit to Ladakh to discuss with ground commanders the six-week standoff with the Chinese military and review India's overall military preparedness in the mountainous region.
- Tensions between India and China escalated significantly in the region after 20 Indian Army personnel were killed by China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in a violent clash in Galwan Valley on June 15 that New Delhi termed as a "premeditated and planned action" by the Chinese troops.
- The sources said the Chief of the Army Staff will visit forward locations and interact with troops on the ground.
- Last week, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria made a quiet visit to Ladakh and Srinagar air bases to review the Indian Air Force's preparedness to deal with any eventualities in the region.