Govt authorises Indian Army to make emergency purchases for a short and intense war amid border tensions with China
An internal audit of the Indian Army had revealed critical shortfall of artillery ammunition, tanks shells, fuses and spares for weapons platforms.
Amid the ongoing face-off between India and China on the border of north-eastern state Sikkim, the government has passed an executive order authorizing Indian Army to make emergency purchases of arms and ammunition to be able to fight if required 'short intense war'.
The decision has come at a time when two neighbouring countries -India and China- are locked-in a bitter border stand-off which also involves Bhutan as a third country. India Today reported that an internal audit of the Indian Army had revealed critical shortfall of artillery ammunition, tanks shells, fuses and spares for weapons platforms. The audit was conducted after Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists attacked Uri brigade headquarters, killing 19 soldiers. In the audit report, the army identified 46 kinds of ammunition, spares for 10 weapons platforms like infantry combat vehicles and half-a-dozen mines of various kinds as critical for war fighting. After this order, the Army can spend as much as it feels required on weapons that are needed to be added in military arsenal. "Unlike previous process, there is no per-determined cap on the amount that can be spent. Rather, the limit to spending has been tied to the minimum stores, ammunition that must be in the reserve of the army at given time. This is big shift," a senior Ministry of Defence officer told India Today. Internal audit report is not the only basis, it appears, for making this decision. Earlier in 2015, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India made somewhat similar observation about the shortage of arms and ammunition.
The CAG's findings, in a report, were damning which said: "While availability of authorised stock against War Wastage Reserve to meet the expected duration of operation formed the basic criteria for ensuring the operational readiness of the Army, we found during the review that against the WWR of 40 (I) days, the availability of ammunition was only in 10 per cent of the total types of ammunition held (March 2013)." The current conflict started when People's Liberation Army construction party entered the Doklam area and attempted to construct a road. India opposed the attempted construction as it would have allowed Chinese Army to get closer to Indian defence interests and also move forward the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction