New Delhi: AK-47s continue to be the preferred assault weapon for the country's paramilitary forces deployed to neutralise terrorists and Maoists at the frontiers and in the hinterland.
Over 29,000 pieces of this Russian-origin rifle were imported by forces like CRPF, BSF and NSG over the last three years, leaving behind, by a large margin, other sophisticated assault weapons procured from the US and Israel.
The inventory of the assault weapons procured for security forces, including ITBP, CISF and Assam Rifles, during 2010-2013 show that while 29,260 pieces of the 'AK' series were procured, only 17,609 units of other weapons in this category like X-95 and SIG were imported.
While the Central Reserve Police Force, deployed extensively in the country for anti-Naxal operations procured 18,000 AK-47s, the Central Industrial Security Force guarding Indian airports got 7,921 pieces and the Sashastra Seema Bal securing borders along Nepal and Bhutan got 2,719 units.
The Sino-India border guarding force Indo-Tibetan Border Police procured 620 pieces of these 'Avtomat Kalashnikova' (AK) rifles.
With the advent of new technology and new dynamics of combat, the country's security establishment has also imported other modern variants of assault rifles.
So while the CRPF got 6,382 pieces of X-95 for its troops in Maoist operations, the elite National Security Guard (NSG) got 675 pieces of the Swiss-make SIG assault rifles.
"There have not been many assault weapons that suit the Indian conditions and the forces. Also, the role of the internal security forces is essentially to combat and not assault. So, a specialist counter-terror force like NSG also uses sub-machine guns like MP5 and Glock pistols for fighting from close quarters," a NSG official explained.
The security forces, through the Union Home Ministry, procured the AK-47s from Bulgaria while the X-95s are procured from Israel.
Among the other weapons that these forces procured during the same fiscals are MP-5 guns from Heckler and Koch (Germany), Carbine machine guns (Storm) from Beretta (Italy) and Glock Pistols from Hong Kong and Austria.