New Delhi: In a major move to cut through red-tape in the defence ministry, the Army's Vice Chief, Lt General Sarath Chand, has been given full financial powers to ensure the Army is stocked with enough ammunition to fight short and intense wars.
While the government did clear the emergency procurement of weaponry worth 20,000 crores after the Uri terror attack on September 18, last year, the Vice Chief has now been allowed to carry on with this process without having to go through the Defence Ministry, a process that earlier took up to a year or more.
As part of its immediate requirements, the Army has identified 46 different types of ammunition and spares for 10 weapon systems which it needs to acquire on an urgent basis. To this end, deals worth Rs.12,000 crores have already been signed. The Army weaponry is mainly shells and missiles for its T-90 tanks, and rockets for field artillery. Most of the deals have gone to Russian firms.
Before the emergency procurement was allowed, the Army had less than 1/3rd of what is known as the 'war wastage reserve,' the minimum stockpile which needs to be maintained to allow 30 days of intense fighting in addition to 30 days of normal fighting.