Proper due diligence is essential when buying small arms for the Indian Army
 
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Small is Lethal

Proper due diligence is essential when buying small arms for the Indian Army

Jaison Deepak
 

Small arms, especially the service rifle, is the most essential weapon for any defence force, it perhaps has more impact on a conflict than even nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers. Providing the right small arms for the troops can save a lot of lives, boost morale and lethality.

The recent flip-flops on the calibre of the service rifle to be procured is worth noting and it is extremely critical to understand existing shortfalls and weed out the misconceptions. The Indian Army has decided to go for the 7.62x51mm calibre for its new assault rifles to replace the INSAS. This comes after failing to find a suitable Multi Calibre Rifle capable of firing both the 5.56x45mm (for conventional conflicts) and the 7.62x39mm (for counter insurgency) ammunition with interchangeable barrel, buffer and magazine.

This rifle would come in conversion kits with additional tools to change calibres in the field or at the armoury. With the trials not having gone well, there may have been problems with the reliability of such a complex design or too many compromises for multi-calibre capability. One of the important reasons for the calibre change is the sub-optimal lethality of the INSAS rifle; there are many factors that might be the reason other than the size which demands attention.

Misconceptions
The common misconception is that the 5.56x45mm round was designed to incapacitate or injure the enemy rather than killing him, thus a myth started to spring up justifying that in conventional conflict injuring enemy soldiers used up more resources of the adversary than killing the soldiers.

Indian Army soldiers during an encounter in Tral Pulwama
Indian Army soldiers during an encounter in Tral Pulwama

 
 
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