By Rohit Srivastava
Post Pulwama suicide attack, India and Pakistan are maintaining a very delicate peace which may not survive another similar attack. Since the Uri terror attack, India has given up the policy of restrained and is now believes in punishing retaliation.
In case such situation arises, India wants to be ready for it.
Towards this end, India is negotiating with its trusted friend and largest weapons provider Russia for an emergency purchase of ammunition for its Russian weapons system. The purchase list includes ammunition for armoured vehicles, anti-tank missiles, rocket artillery, and bullets for machines guns
The two sides are very close to finalising the deals. If all goes well then India may receive the first batch of ammunition within a month time.
According to reliable sources, India has asked for 60,000 125 mm armour-piercing Mango rounds used by T-90 and T-72 tanks. The Russian made shells which entered in service in 1986 uses tungsten alloy rod to penetrate tank armour.
Along with the Mango rounds, Indian mechanised forces are also slated to receive around 500,000 rounds for its armoured troop carrier BMP II. Indian Army operates over 1600 of these vehicles which are armed with 30 mm auto cannons. Besides these, Russia will provide over 20 million rounds for its tank mounted 12.7 mm machines guns.
Similarly, India is also going to strengthen its anti-armour stock with 5,000 Konkur-M anti-tank missiles.
The biggest item in the list is around 1000 rockets for Smerch rocket artillery systems. The 300 mm multi-barrel rocket system can hit target up to the range of 90 kilometres with tremendous accuracy. This purchase will provide the Indian Smerch regiments with much-needed stock to devastate (if required) many of the militarily significant targets across the border within its 90 km range.
India sent out a verbal communication to Russia for emergency purchase last month and soon after separate purchase proposal for each item was sent. The Russian side responded in no time and the two sides are at the verge of finalising the contract. India is expected to pay around USD 500 million to Russia.
The first trench of delivery is expected with next four weeks.
In last seven months India has signed contract worth $12 billion with Russia which includes 5 regiments of S-400 surface-to-air missile system, four advanced frigate, 700,000 AK-203, nuclear submarine lease and 200 Ka-226T helicopters. India is also about to sign agreement for 21 MiG-29UPG and another additional squadron of Su-30 MKI.
India has extended license production of OFB to manufacture 464 T-90MS tanks and has down selected Igla-S for Indian Army’s man-portable-air-defence requirement.
The list covers all aspects of warfare be it surface, sub-surface, air and land.
These contracts in coming years will ensure India maintain its military parity with its adversaries and will have the capability to deter any misadventure from them and also will be capable of punishing retaliation to their misadventures.