|Published: June 2017|
The last few weeks, or days, have brought some good news for the Army, the best of them being about resumption of artillery guns after a long gap of 30 years.
The Army has received the first lot of BAE Systems M777 light weight howitzers and there is good news from the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) which has successfully upgraded the old Bofors guns acquired in the 1980s to a higher calibre for longer range and reach. There is another piece of good news as another artillery requirement is being met through a South Korean company. (See report inside).
Then, the Government has also accepted the long-standing demand of the Army for Boeing Apache AH-64E Attack Helicopters. Eleven helicopters, which in the normal course should have gone to the Indian Air Force (IAF) as part of its option clause in acquiring 22 machines, have been allocated to the Army following a decision in principle to give any more of these flying tanks to the Army in future.
The Army operates armed versions of HAL’s Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) called Rudra, but has projected a requirement of 39 Apaches for its three plains-based Strike Corps for integrated battlefield operations. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat has been pushing hard for a variety of new equipment needed by the Army, and given the intensive hostilities being sparked on the border by Pakistan, the Government is doing the needful for timely deliveries.
There is some movement on small arms, medical equipment, air defence systems and other requirements.
Gen Rawat has acquired the reputation of being a tough leader – and why not! – and on the troubled Jammu & Kashmir front, where Pakistani army and ISI continue their proxy and terror wars, he has given instructions to match bullet with more bullets. The great thing is he is in sync with his top colleagues as well as the rank and file of officers and men, all of whom now say: Enough is Enough.
The Army Chief and his team of Lt Generals are directing operations as well as modernisation process with cohesion and diligence. There is full support from the Government, without hesitation.
There are no scripts in battles and wars and the Army Chief has rightly supported his younger officers to tackle terrorism as the need arises.
There have to be split-second decisions, and in any battles, they can determine the fate of own soldiers or those of the opponents. It has to be clear that own troops must win, with zero or minimal losses, while the opponents, particularly the terrorists, must be sent to hell where they belong.
The Government must support the Generals; it has to be their Day if we want peace.