New Delhi: Amid heightened tensions with Pakistan in the aftermath of Indian Army’s daring surgical strikes across the Line of Control (LoC) last month, the Centre has asked arms suppliers and the industry to be prepared to scale up production and supply contracts at short notice. A report by the Economic Times cited top government sources in confirming that the instructions to top officials came from the Narendra Modi government in the recent past, asking them to assess the capability and capacity to meet immediate requirements of the armed forces.
The ET report added that weapon suppliers have been contacted to convey that, if need be, contracts for additional arms could be placed on an immediate basis.”The government wants a realistic estimate of the industry’s ability to deliver on a short notice; to upscale current production and to meet urgent orders,” the report quoted a top defence executive as saying. However, this is not the first time that such instructions have come from the Centre. The government had made similar inquiries after the deadly terror attack on the Indian Air Force Base in Pathankot in January.
The Defence Ministry is looking at small arms and ammunition and spare parts and weapons for the Sukhoi and Mirage fighter fleets on a priority basis, the report said. Interestingly, a day before the September 29 surgical strikes, Finance minister Arun Jaitley had also indicated that an increase in the defence budget could be possible to meet security needs. The armed forces will be keen to meet critical shortages, particularly in ammunition and small arms, that limit its capability to meet a full-scale war challenge beyond a few days. Successive years of dipping into war reserves to raise new military units on the China border have led to depleted stocks that in some cases may not even last four days in case of a full-blown conflict along the border.