Having already received and deployed the first lot of around 72,500 Sig Sauer assault rifles from the US for counter-terrorists operations, the new batch of these assault rifles would be given to the soldiers deployed on the front with China in Eastern Ladakh.
A recent Defence Acquisition Council held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi government approved the second batch of around 72,500 Sig Sauer assault rifles from America under fast track procedures for the Army.
“The first lot of these assault rifles were provided to the troops deployed in the counter-terrorist operations in Jammu and Kashmir. A second lot of the guns would be for the troops deployed on the China front in Eastern Ladakh and other areas,” government sources told ANI.
The idea is to provide the best of equipment facing the enemy on the frontline, they said.
The new rifles will replace the existing Indian Small Arms System (Insas) 5.56x45mm rifles used by the forces and manufactured locally by the Ordnance Factories Board.
As per the plan, around 1.5 lakh imported rifles were to be used by the troops in the counter-terrorism operations and frontline duties on the Line of Control (LoC) and the newly-activated Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The remaining forces would be provided with the AK-203 rifles, which are to be produced jointly by India and Russia at the Amethi ordnance factory.
Amid the ongoing dispute with China over the boundary issue, the Indian Army will place another order of 72,000 Sig 716 assault rifles from the United States.
The Indian Army had been trying to replace their standard INSAS assault rifles for many years, but the attempts failed due to one reason or the other.
Recently, the Defence Ministry placed an order of 16,000 light machine guns (LMGs) from Israel to do away with the shortage of these guns.
SIG-716 Assault Rifle has been designed to fire 7.62 x 51mm rounds that can kill any enemy 600 meters away, which is just double the range of AK-47s carried by terrorists. The SIG-716 has a similar layout as M4A1 assault rifles used by Indian Para Commandos and has a similar internal layout as the Vietnam War fame AR-15 rifles. Sig 716 has a short-stroke piston-driven operating system, which gives a lesser shock to firer, resulting in vastly improved accuracy. SIG-716 also comes equipped with M1913 military standard rails for mounting accessories like night vision devices, torches, or any other attachment-based on mission requirements.
The first batch of 72,000 SIG-716 was delivered to the Indian Army in 2019 and probable repeat order in 2020 means Indian Army troops are very happy with this rifle. The SIG-716 has not only increased the effectiveness of Indian Infantry soldiers by enabling them to shoot farther but also has reduced chances of causalities. This weapon is part of the Indian Infantry modernization plan that was stalled for a long.