In a country with around 25 lakh armed forces and Central Armed Police Forces personnel authorised to operate a personal weapon each, the need to create an indigenous ecosystem in the small arms industry and reduce dependence on import has only increased in the past few decades.
On similar notes, the Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU), under the Ministry of Home Affairs, organised a one-day ‘stakeholders’ meet titled ‘Small Arms and The Indian Ecosystem’ at its Dahegam-based campus in Gandhinagar Friday. Representatives from the Army, police force of various states, the Central Armed Police Forces and investigative agencies came together with private companies, innovators and academicians at the meet.
Presenting his ideas on “indigenisation” of critical technologies in the small arms industry, Director Infantry of the Indian Army Colonel Amitoz Singh said, “Indigenisation of critical futuristic technologies in weaponry is, indeed, a challenge. There is a need for increased synergy between users, developers and government agencies. We also need to encourage innovators and developers for further interaction at ground level with the security personnel to understand the challenges.”
Additional director general of police, planning and modernisation division of Gujarat Police Narsimha Komar said India’s security scenario has changed dramatically over the years and there is a need to prepare in terms of weaponry and equipment. “Gujarat Police have 1.24 lakh police personnel. A bulk of our police’s weaponry comes from the ordnance factories; however, many of our weapons are also imported such as Glock pistols from Austria, Stun Guns from the US, among others. Over the years, we have seen demand for less lethal weapons get popular. We also require armoured vehicles for security situations,” Komar said.
Konark Rai,MD of ‘Security and Scientific-Technical Research Association (SASTRA) under the RRU, said “the idea of SASTRA is to allow our students, researchers to be at ground zero and interact with the armed forces personnel to understand the challenges in different terrains and work on the improvements needed in weaponry and security aspects.”
A few prototypes of indigenous small and medium weapons were also showcased at the meet. Lieutenant Colonel Prasad A Bansod, who presented his prototype machine pistol weapon, prepared under the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE) of the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said more than often, security personnel deployed for operations require weapons that are between pistols and carbine range. Such weapons are called machine pistols and are used for counter-terrorists operations. “Our weapon is less than 2 kg and can do the automatic fire of 35 rounds of high-capacity ammunition. In the record time of four months, our prototype was prepared at the cost of Rs 45-60,000,” he said.