Sharp Shooting
Paramilitary forces are now getting state-of-the-art weapons superior to INSAS and AK series

ITBP solider with 5.56mm INSAS Rifle
ITBP solider with 5.56mm INSAS Rifle

India’s central paramilitary forces (CPMFs) usually follow the choice of weapon selected by the Indian Army, though this has changed recently with sophisticated and high-tech small arms weapons systems purchased by different organisations. With the INSAS rifles not meeting expectations, paramilitary and police forces have begun importing high-end weapons even before the army has procured them. This has resulted in fragmented purchases of expensive state-of-the-art weapons, which not only require extensive retraining of personnel for their effective usage but are also required to be stored carefully. The National Security Guard (NSG), which is the nodal agency for the procurement of weapons among the CPMFs, has now started acquiring various guns that fit the requirements of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF) and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

According to director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), Maj. Gen. Dhruv Katoch (retd), “Equipping of a force is an expensive proposition. Ideally, at any one time, over a 30-year cycle, one-third of the inventory needs to be of the latest variety, one-third should be current and one-third should be under process of phasing out. It would not be possible to equip our police forces such as BSF, CRPF and the state armed police with the latest weapons till such time as the field army are equipped first.” He further emphasises, “It must be understood that the CRPF and BSF are police forces and not paramilitary. The Assam Rifles on the other hand is a paramilitary force, which must be equipped after the army’s requirement has been met. Generally, police forces should be equipped with the weapons, which the field army sheds in the process of modernisation. They will, thus, have the same weapons as the major portion of the army as only one-third of the army will have the latest weapons in the manufacturing cycle.”

The induction of substantial numbers of state-of-the-art weapons by the paramilitary forces brings with it the attendant challenges of training and maintenance. The new small arms being inducted are technologically far superior to the INSAS and AK series, and to make the best of these expensive weapons, time and effort needs to be invested in training the force. This is confirmed by Maj. Gen. Dhruv Katoch (retd), who says, “There is no shortcut to training. Police forces must have basic training in weapon use to include firing of weapons at regular intervals. Assam Rifles has no problem on this count as they are trained on the lines of the Indian Army. Police must develop appropriate leadership to rectify weaknesses in training. As of now, they are managers and not leaders of men. Police academies need to stress weapon training more rigorously. Simulators need to be used to good effect.”
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