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By Bulbul Singh

08 Dec 08. India is to buy new defence weaponry and equipment worth millions of dollars to shore up homeland security needs. The wish-list is being drawn by defence forces and security agencies in the wake of the November 26, Mumbai terror attacks.

The Indian Army, Air Force, Navy, the Coast Guard have been asked to prepare a wish-list of weaponry and equipment to shore up India’s
homeland security capability.

A senior Indian defence ministry official said, “The homeland security needs in terms of weaponry and equipment have been earlier supplied on various occasions under the general requirement needs of the forces. A tight close-up of homeland security will be taken for the first time by the Indian defence forces.”

India is also considering structural changes in Homeland Security agencies, a unified Federal Security Agency is on the cards, which will take care of the homeland security needs of the country.

“However, for the time being, the Indian defence ministry is drawing up a wish-list of weaponry and equipment only.” said the official at the Indian defence ministry.

The Indian Air Force is looking at the purchase of Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAVs), varieties of ground surveillancer adars, rotary UAVs, medium-lift helicopters and Precision Guided
Ammunition as the top priority for Homeland Security.

The UCAVs can be used for suppression of enemy air defences,
electronic warfare, surveillance, precision strike and associated
operations autonomously. They can be the most effective assets in striking terrorist camps behind enemy lines.

The role of all Indian Special Forces, including Army, Navy, Air Force, and the National Security Guards is being enhanced to operate behind enemy lines.

The Indian Army would list purchases of adavanced weaponry,
inlcuding an upgraded Tavor rifle, precision guided ammunition and
Battlefield Management Systems. An Indian Army official said that the aim of the BMS procurement is to provide C4I systems supporting the individual soldier up to the command level. The BMS will comprise palm computers at the soldier level and tactical computers at the command level.

The list will also include a range of Combat Assault Rifle (Light),
Grenade Machine Gun, Armor Penetrator, submachine Gun with Folding
Buttstock and Silencer, carbine with M203 40 mm grenade launcher, sniper rifles, sub-machine guns and machine pistols.

“Robotic use will become another important future area,” said the Indian Army officer.

For logistics, specialized cargo planes like the C-130 J, and medium-lift helicopters, light strike vehicles, will be another major component of the purchases.

The Indian Navy and Coast Guard will purchase C4IR systems,
fast patrol boats, semi-submersibles, and reconnaissance aircraft, in addition to the purchase of special equipment and weapons
for Special Forces.

The defence ministry official added that the government will issue
around two dozen global tenders for procurement of homeland security
weaponry once the total requirement is tabulated. All the programmes
will be undertaken on a fast-track procurement basis, he added.

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