The Indian Army has only 3,86,000 bullet proof jackets for 1.3 million soldiers. This is because the existing jackets are too heavy and the Army is in the process of procuring ones that are lighter. The process is also on to procure a Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV).
“We would like to issue bullet proof jackets to all soldiers but we haven’t been able to find an effective one as yet that doesn’t weigh more than 4 kg. Now bullet proof jackets are only issued to soldiers engaged in counter terrorism and counter insurgency operations. Such jackets are low cost items and small and medium enterprises can carry out research to develop something that suits us,” said Lt Gen Subrata Saha, deputy chief of Army staff (planning and system). Saha was chief guest at the 7th Industry Defence Linkage organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Kolkata on Friday.
Lt Gen Saha, who had headed the Srinagar-based 15 Corps before his present posting, also said that domestic products are best suited for Indian battlefield requirements.
“There is no other Army in the world that faces our challenges. Nowhere else does an Army remain in eyeball to eyeball contact with an adversary continuously or is targeted by terrorists on a regular basis. Nor do soldiers from any other country have to remain prepared for hostilities at a place like Siachen. Alpine battlegrounds are things of the past. This is why there are no equipments made elsewhere in the world to suit our specific needs. Imported equipment have to be adapted to suit our needs. Equipment manufactured in India are best suited for our battlefield requirements,” he added while encouraging entrepreneurs from West Bengal to take up the challenge.
He also expressed delight at the response from industry for the FICV. As many as six consortiums have come up with proposals. A final decision will be taken soon.