India’s front-line soldiers will soon be equipped with 72400 SIG716-G2 rifles

After a long, long while, the Indian jawan on the line of control knows that modern, high-quality rifles are on the way. The defence minister, Ms Nirmala Sitharaman, has just cleared the purchase of 72,400 rifles for the Indian army, initially for soldiers in difficult conditions, fighting infiltrating terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir.

These are the SIG716-G2 rifles from Sig Sauer and delivery is likely within a year. There can be delays: the contract mentions delivery within a designated period. These will use 7.62 mm ammunition and they may be more effective than the indigenous INSAS rifles that use 5.56 mm ammunition.

The deal was initially for rifles, carbines and light machine-guns, but so far, the rifles have been cleared and the carbines are likely to be okayed very soon. The LMG deal is likely to take more time as rebidding has happened. And buying rifles are not going to hurt the exchequer very much — Rs 700 crore or less is all that it is likely to cost.

Once the carbines also come, the humble jawan, the man right on the front, will have the best possible weapons. Currently, he is having to use the INSAS rifle, good but underpowered slightly and also, the AK-47, still very effective. The SIG716-G2 will be a new generation rifle, lighter and more accurate.




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