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Indian Army gets its First Artillery Gun in 30 Years

Nearly after 30 years after the induction of  Bofors howitzers, Indian Army will get its first artillery guns called M777 from BAE Systems. Swedish Bofors guns were inducted in late 1980s after which Army has not inducted any modern artillery guns. The two M777s has arrived in New Delhi and will be tested at the Pokhran field firing range in Rajasthan. The two M777 guns will be used for compilation of firing tables. Indian Army has plans to equip 169 regiments with 3,503 guns by 2020.

Salient Highlights

The deal for procuring M777 guns from the United States was initiated in 2010. Finally, the contract worth Rs 2,900-crore to buy 145 M777 guns were struck in November 2016. The government-to-government deal was struck under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route. 

The 155 mm/39-caliber howitzers will increase the army’s capabilities in high altitude and will be deployed in the northern and eastern sectors. The modular design of the guns would come handy in towing the guns along the narrow and treacherous mountain roads that is found in India’s borders with both Pakistan and China. It will be especially used by the army’s new mountain strike corps which is being raised to counter China in the Northeast. The new corps is expected to be fully operational by 2025.

The guns can also be airlifted by using heavy-lift helicopters like the Chinook. India has signed an agreement to acquire Chinook from the US. The C130J Super Hercules, which are used for strategic airlift by India is also capable of airlifting M777 guns.

The M777 guns are already in service in the countries like  the US, Canada and Australia. These guns were deployed by these armies in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The first 25 guns will be inducted directly. The rest 120 guns will be be assembled in India by BAE Systems in collaboration with Mahindra Defence.  

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‘CASO’ to be Reintroduced as Part of Counter Terrorism Operations

Indian Army has planned to re-introduce cordon and search operations (CASO) as a part of its counter terrorism operations after a gap of 15 years. The major objective behind the reintroduction of combing operations is to bring the situation in the Kashmir Valley under control. Hereafterwards, Army will carry out CASO in a major way to flush out militants in the militancy-hit areas of Kulgam, Pulwama, Tral, Budgam and Shopian in south Kashmir, indicating a change in strategy.

Background

CASO was a regular feature of Army’s counter-terrorism operations in the 1990s. The security forces made use of “area domination and sweep” operations in the 1990s. During those times, such operations were commonly conducted by the Indian Army. Later, following the complaints of discomfort caused to the local population, the Army switched to specific intelligence-based operations involving small teams and CASO was discontinued.

The recent decision to re-introduce CASO comes against the backdrop of the recent killing of unarmed Kashmiri Army officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz in Shopian by militants.

Recently, the Army, security forces and police had also carried out a massive cordon and combing operation in south Kashmir’s Shopian district following the recent militant attacks on policemen and banking facilities. It was the first time in 15 years that the combing operation of this magnitude involving 4,000 troops was conducted by the security forces.

 

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BAT Repeats Brutality by Beheading Two Indian Soldiers

Pakistan’s ‘border action team’ (BAT) has beheaded two Indian soldiers by sneaking 200 metres into Indian Territory in the Krishna Ghati sector in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir. During the raid, bodies of Naib Subedar Paramjit Singh (22 Sikh Regiment) and head constable Prem Sagar (200 BSF Battalion) were left mutilated. This is the third such barbaric episode since the conduct of ‘surgical strikes’ against terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) on September 29. In the same Krishna Ghati sector, BAT had beheaded Lance Naik Hemraj and severed the head of Lance Naik Sudhakar Singh of 13 Rajputana Rifles in 2013.

India has strongly condemned this inhuman act and the Army has promised appropriate revenge at a place and time of its choice. Since january, 65 ceasefire violations have already been recorded along the LoC.

BAT

Pakistani BATs is a brutal and barbaric arm of Pakistan Army. The BAT typically consists of five to six Pakistan Army soldiers as well as some terrorists. Pakistan army’s elite Special Services Group (SSG) commandos may also be present in the BAT actions. BATs are specialised to conduct cross-border raids targeting Indian troops along the LoC. They carry out actions up to a depth of 1 to 3 kilometres. Pakistan’s Special Services Group (SSG) or the “black storks” were among the first batches of intruders that crossed the LoC into Kargil in 1999 that finally resulted in an armed conflict between the two countries.

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