The Indian Army has, startlingly, been operating without a carbine, a fundamental infantry weapon for close quarter battle (CQB), since the mid-1980s, despite its continuing deployment on counter-insurgency (COIN) operations.
Repeated ineffectual attempts by the army since 2008 to procure a replacement for the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)-licence built 9mm Sterling 1A1 sub-machine gun variant dating back to 1944 had all failed, pushing its overall requirement for CQB carbines to over 4,50,000 units.
Presently, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which is eagerly approving innumerable materiel imports to counter the People’s Liberation Army threat on the Ladakh border, is vacillating over a $110 million Fast Track Procurement (FTP) order for 93,895 5.56x45mm carbines from Caracal of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
In accordance with the MoD’s Defence Procurement Procedure-2016 (DPP-2016), the carbine contract was mandated to have been signed and the weapons delivered within 17 months, or by August 2019, following the request for proposal (RfP) or tender, for the weapon system in March 2018. .
But over a year later, the decision to either confirm or terminate the contract for the badly-needed and interminably-delayed carbines continues to swirl uncertainly around MoD and Army Headquarters corridors in South Block