India was given freedom from British rule in 1947. At that time the standing army had strength of about 400, zero. 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 classic and economical. The way it was weapon of a bygone age.
The pacifist policies of Nehru as well as the servility of the General Staff resulted in the reality that this main weapon for the infantry soldier wasn’t upgraded for fifteen long years. When the Chinese army struck across the northern borders in 1962 the Indian soldier equipped with the obsolete. 303 was greatly handicapped.
The end of the India China war saw the dawning of reality on 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 federal government owned ordinance factories and they began processing probably the latest weapons. These were subsequently made accessible to the Indian army.
The ordinance factories presently manufacture integrated small arms weaponry known as INSAS (Indian Small Arms System). This whole 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 currently equipped with this assault rifle. This rifle has nothing original about it and is in accordance with 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 an extremely popular weapon of German origin.
However the weapons and guns manufactured in India do not match the quality control of the counterparts of theirs in the western world. In fact reports suggest that the Indian made rifle is susceptible to jamming at sub zero temperatures like in the Siachan Glacier where Indian Army faces the Islmic state of Ladakh and Pakistan where they are countering the Chinese army. The weapon has also a loud decibel effect which is not beneficial for an infantry soldier who is into combat. The weapons which can be created by the Ordinance factories are costlier as compared to their western counterparts. The Indian made rifles are priced at $360 cwhich compares unfavourably with the continental European rifles that carry a price tag of about hundred dolars.
The standard assault rifle is a semi automatic with a three round burst. The Indian ordinance factories also churn out the fully automatic assault rifle often referred to as INSAS Excalibur mark I. The foundation of the weapon is the AK seventy four. This weapon is also not of any original pattern and is also based on its European contemporaries.
The newest models have shown considerable improvement in finish and performance. The effectiveness of the Indian Army has however been greatly increased with the induction of these rifles. The Special Forces which employ 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.
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