Weapon for the Indian Army- The Assault Rifles
The Indian made rifles have given greater potency to the Indian Army
The Indian Army and the Assault Rifles
British rule over India ended in 1947.At that time the standing army had strength of about 400,000.This was down from a peak of about 2.5 million during the second world war. The Indian army at that time was equipped with the .303 Enfield rifle. This was a bolt action rifle but very versatile and efficient. However it was weapon of a bygone age.
The pacifist policies of Nehru resulted in the fact that this main weapon for the infantry soldier was not upgraded. Thus when the Chinese army invaded India in 1962 the Indian soldier perforce had to face them with the obsolete .303 rifle.
The end of the India-China war awakened the political leadership which now gave the green signal for the up gradation of the basic rifle for the infantry soldier. A start was made through the government owned ordinance factories and they started manufacturing the latest weapons.
The ordinance factories presently manufacture integrated small arms weaponry often referred to as INSAS (Indian Small Arms System). This entire family consists of an assault rifle, a light machine gun and a carbine. The nodal point for the manufacture of these light arms is at the Indian ordinance factory at Ishapore in West Bengal
The infantry regiments of the Indian Army are now equipped with this assault rifle. This rifle is based on the AK 47 Kalashnikov. The Indian ordinance factories have however incorporated some changes in the mechanism of the weapon and for this purpose they have relied on the German HK G3 rifle and the FN Fall rifle (Fusil Automatique Leger - Light Automatic Rifle). The FN Fall rifle is a very famous weapon of German origin.
The Indian Army is using this weapon. But the weapon also has a loud decibel effect that is not conducive for an infantry soldier who is into combat. The weapons which are marketed by the Ordinance factories are also costlier than their western counterparts. The Indian rifles are priced at $ 360 compared to continental European rifles that carry a price tag of about $100.
The standard assault rifle is a semi automatic with a three round burst. The Indian ordinance factories also manufacture the fully automatic assault rifle often referred to as INSAS Excalibur mark I. The base of this weapon is the AK 74.
The latest models have shown considerable improvement in finish and performance. The effectiveness of the Indian Army has however been greatly enhanced with the induction of these rifles. The Special Forces which use the Excalibur have the fully auto and semi auto modes. India is also importing rifle from Israel for the Special Forces-the tavor Tar 21.
Overall the Indian made assault rifles have given reasonable service, but the esteem value needs to be improved. Perhaps better quality control may be the trick to enter the world arms market