New Delhi, Dec 20 (IANS) The Indian Army’s failure to buy even a single artillery gun to replace its obsolete inventory for over 25 years following the Bofors pay-off scandal has come under sharp attack from the government auditors, who have pointed out that procurement of these critical weapon systems ‘is not in sight in the foreseeable future’.
In its latest reported submitted to parliament Tuesday, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) pointed out that artillery guns of modern technology could not be made available to the troops for over a decade and for replacing the existing guns of obsolete technology of 1970 vintage.
‘The acquisition of artillery guns included in the 10th plan from 2002-03 to 2006-07 has not materialised till now. The abnormal delay in procurement of the new guns had not only impacted the operational preparedness of the army but also resulted in substantial cost overrun,’ the report said.
The army has over the last 20 years been looking to buy critical artillery guns to replace its 105mm, 122mm and 130mm guns, but has not been successful in doing so, leading to an adverse impact on its operational preparedness for a future war.
The situation was caused by the corruption scandal in the late 1980s resulting in the ouster of the Rajiv Gandhi government in the polls in 1989.
Since then, the Indian Army has expressed its intention of buying four types of artillery guns, but has failed to procure even one of them, including the one on a government-to-government sale for 145 ultralight howitzers of 155mm 39 calibre guns from the BAE Systems’s stable from the US for which efforts were initiated two years ago.
Among the guns required by the Indian Army are 155mm 53 calibre towed guns numbering 1,180, another 180 155mm 52 calibre wheeled self propelled guns, 100 of 155mm 52 calibre tracked self propelled guns, apart from the 145 ultra light howitzers.
‘After the last acquisition of Bofors guns under a contract in 1986, the defence ministry planned and initiated procurement process for acquisition of towed gun system and self-propelled gun system in mid 1990s, which could not materialise even after lapse of more than a decade due to non-defining the requirement of specific gun system by army, non-selection of proven gun and inconsistencies in evaluation of gun system,’ it said