“Man be­hind the weapon that mat­ters” – Gen­eral Bipin Rawat, COAS

Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion of Jayant Baran­wal, Edi­tor-in-Chief, SP’s Land Forces, dur­ing the an­nual press con­fer­ence, Chief of the Army Staff Gen­eral Bipin Rawat ex­plained in de­tail how the army is tech­no­log­i­cally em­pow­er­ing and mo­ti­vat­ing its sol­diers to t


SP’s: How will you em­power a sol­dier so that he re­mains con­stantly mo­ti­vated? COAS:

We have al­ways be­lieved that it is the man be­hind the weapon that mat­ters and there­fore em­pow­er­ment of the sol­dier is most im­por­tant... When we talk of em­pow­er­ing a sol­dier, it is giv­ing him the kind of sys­tems that are re­quired by him to en­sure that he is able to im­bibe tech­nol­ogy and then en­sure the sur­veil­lance …the sen­sor shooter sys­tem get in­te­grated not just at the high­est level but even at the sol­dier’s level and then im­part­ing train­ing to en­sure that he can utilize the equip­ment.

Night Ca­pa­bil­ity

We have to look at ter­rain and the con­di­tions un­der which we op­er­ate. We op­er­ate un­der dif­fer­ent con­di­tions... Each of the ter­rain re­quires dif­fer­ent kind of weapon sys­tem, dif­fer­ent kind of tech­nol­ogy for re­con­nais­sance and sur­veil­lance. Ba­sic is­sue is to give him those.

Now what we are try­ing to do for a sol­dier as of now? we are en­sur­ing that he must have ca­pa­bil­ity to op­er­ate both by day and night. He is be­ing given de­vices which will help him to carry out sur­veil­lance and re­con­nais­sance both by day and night, so, that he can see the ter­rain in front of him at all times. And then you have to give him the weapon sys­tem which can en­gage what he sees for that as far as the sol­dier on the ground is con­cerned we are iden­ti­fy­ing an as­sault ri­fle.

As­sault Ri­fle Pro­gramme

The as­sault ri­fle which is the pri­mary weapons for an in­fantry sol­dier de­ployed on the front­line has got de­layed be­cause we have changed the GSQR. There was a time when we were look­ing at change­able bar­rel ri­fle, which on sec­ond thought we felt was not the best sys­tem we had opted for so, we changed track. Now we are look­ing for an as­sault ri­fle with range of 500 me­tres with night fight­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

The en­tire army can­not be equipped with the same as­sault ri­fle be­cause this a is very high tech­nol­ogy ri­fle. So, what we have de­cided that is the in­fantry sol­dier de­ployed on the bor­der who has got to en­gage the ad­ver­sary first, at the line of con­trol or any­where else will be given the as­sault ri­fle.

We said that high tech as­sault ri­fle will come in for the in­fantry de­ployed in the front. Now within the in­fantry bat­tal­ion also not every­body re­quires this as­sault ri­fle. In an in­fantry bat­tal­ion there are 750 jawans and we have come to a con­clu­sion that only 400-450 are front­line sol­diers, that is the com­pa­nies that are de­ployed in the front. There are some peo­ple who are hold­ing the heav­ier weapons, some­body has got mor­tar or ATGM, these peo­ple may not re­quire these weapons. This is to make sure we utilize the re­sources and funds that are allotted to us in a ju­di­cious man­ner.

So, we are get­ting a good as­sault ri­fle which is now mov­ing on a fast track pro­ce­dure. We have iden­ti­fied the ri­fles which have to come in, the tri­als are on and very soon we will be get­ting this prefer­ably through G-to-G (Govern­ment-to-Govern­ment), so that we get it faster.

In­dige­nous As­sault Ri­fle

For the other arms and ser­vices who need not be equipped with this kind of as­sault ri­fle we are look­ing at the in­di­genus so­lu­tion. This ri­fle will be man­u­fac­tured by OFB and partly by In­dus­try.

Our num­bers are huge (nine to ten lakhs) they can’t be man­u­fac­tured over night. But if you want to get them in ear­lier time frame... in two/three years. Then you got to look at so­phis­ti­cated weapons for in­fantry which we need and we don’t have the ca­pa­bil­ity to make in our coun­try… we im­port it.

For oth­ers we go to the or­di­nance fac­tory who will man­u­fac­ture it for us and part load will be off loaded to the in­dus­try. Why we are do­ing this be­tween the or­di­nance fac­tory and in­dus­try, it is to cre­ate com­pe­ti­tion for the or­di­nance fac­tory. To­day, if the or­di­nance fac­tory does not come out with the good weapon and you find out that your own in­dige­nous in­dus­try comes out with bet­ter weapons then you can­cel those or­der and you go that way. So, this is to en­sure that they also be­come ac­count­able and they also start im­prov­ing the stan­dards.

PHO­TO­GRAPH: SP Guide Pubns

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