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‘Night blindness’ worries Indian Army


New Delhi: As the Indian Army geared up for the 62nd Army Day Friday, its chief General Deepak Kapoor expressed concern about the force’s “night blindness” in the area of armoured corps and mechanised infantry.

“My major concern is that night blindness of the army is removed so we are able to fight in the night as in the day,” Kapoor said.

Earlier when his attention was brought to the fact that the Indian Army’s tanks have a night vision capability of 20 percent, Pakistan’s have 80 percent while China has 100 percent, Kapoor only replied: “You are right.”

“Projects are already in the pipeline to ensure that we have the night vision capability that our adversaries have. It may take three-four years,” Kapoor added.

The lack of night vision capability of the Indian Army has affected its fighting capability during the night. The deficiency has been persistent since the Kargil conflict.

On a query about the obsolete artillery of the Indian Army, the army chief said that successive bans have delayed acquisition of new guns for long.

“Artillery is a cause for concern. We need to have better guns. Trials for towed guns are underway. Because of bans the process got delayed. We are now acquiring (ultra light) guns through FMS (Foreign Military Sales) route (from the US),” Kapoor added.

The artillery modernisation plan of the Indian Army, which has not bought a single gun for the last 23 years, was derailed when the defence ministry banned seven armament firms including a Singapore artillery major on corruption charges.

While the government gave a go ahead to the trials of towed artillery guns, it has opted for a direct sales route in case of ultra light howitzers, in which the Singapore Kinetics was the single vendor. Ultra light guns are required by the Indian Army to position in the mountainous terrain bordering China.

“I would be happy to get the guns whichever way I can. I do not mind if it comes through Foreign Military Sales. The Defence Acquisition Committee cleared it and we are ready to go for it,” he added.