As per reports published Indian Army is slowly but steadily managing its ammunition stocks ranging from rockets and missiles to high-caliber tank and artillery shells aiming to have adequate stockpiles in place to last 40 days. As a readiness Army is to ensure that it can comfortably fight a full-blown war on both fronts for over 10 days. Based on report source asserted that this, of course, does not mean the Army is not operationally ready for war as of now. ‘It is, especially on the western front. But ammunition reserves have to be built keeping both Pakistan and China in mind’. We want Indian Army to be ready for both front full-fledged war and working on it to improve.
Earlier the readiness of quality ammunition for war rang alarms not only in Ministry of Defence but also brought wave of deficiencies of ammunition supplied to Army and availability. It took the Uri terror attack in September 2016 for the government to swing into action and delegate financial powers to the Army, Navy and IAF for emergency and critical 10(I) contracts after finding that the armed forces simply did not have enough ammunition stocks for a prolonged full-fledged war. Keeping earlier deficiencies in mind including several types of critical ammunition have been substantially plugged with more supplies in pipeline of contracts.
This came after the Army sounded the alarm about the unacceptably high number of accidents taking place due to the defective quality of ammunition being supplied for tanks, artillery, air defence and other guns by the OFB as well as the huge slippages in supply, as was reported by TOI in May last year.
The next target will be to gradually achieve 40 (I) levels after some major rationalization because not all types of ammunition are needed in such large numbers. Holding large reserves is neither economically nor logistically feasible, told source concerned. MoD is also in the process of contracting the domestic private sector to manufacture with foreign collaboration eight different types of artillery, tank and infantry ammunition worth around Rupees 1700 crore per year for a decade from 2022-2023 onwards.
Recently last month, the CAG had again slammed the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) for compromising operational military readiness by failing to meet ‘a significant quantity’ of the Army’s requirements as well as supplying defective fuses leading to multiple accidents.
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Indian Army, on its part, wants accountability to be fixed on those responsible for faulty quality checks and defective ammunition, which are leading to frequent accidents during firings of 105mm Indian field guns, 105mm light field guns, 130mm MA1 medium guns, 40mm L-70 air defence guns as well as the main guns of the T-72, T-90 and Arjun main-battle tanks. As per reports the process is undergoing to ramp up the stock and improvement of quality.
Official Source- TOI