The Army is equipping its troops amid a stand-off with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) along the LAC in Ladakh with new assault rifles bought from the US — SIG 716 — under emergency procurement, ThePrint has learnt.
While the initial lot of the modern assault rifles from the US was sent to those guarding the Line of Control with Pakistan and for counter-terrorism operations in Kashmir, troops at the LAC in the northern sector in Ladakh are also being equipped with it.
“It (Sig Sauer Rifles) should have reached them by now,” said a highly-placed source in the government, when asked if the troops at the frontlines in Ladakh are armed with the erstwhile INSAS rifles or the new American ones.
The Army had in February last year ordered 72,400 SIG 716 G2 Patrol assault/battlefield 7.62×51 mm rifles for its frontline troops and the American firm has completed the delivery.
These were meant to replace the obsolete Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) 5.56×45 mm rifles.
The rest of the force is supposed to be equipped with the AK 203, which is to be manufactured jointly by Russia and India under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.