Categories: Terrorism

Foot soldiers of India deprived of Bulletproof jackets?

353000 Bulletproof jackets needed, only 5000 supplied till Oct ’16

Standing in front of TV cameras or while participating in debates inside the Parliament politicians cutting across party lines never shy away from sympathizing with the foot soldiers of the Indian armed forces.

But when it comes to providing safety equipment for these soldiers the same set of politicians are found lacking in discharging their duties.

On all these platforms these politicians stand tall and raise patriotic slogans to woo the jawans to salvage their lost image in the eyes of their electorate.

But when it comes to providing safety equipment for these soldiers the same set of politicians are found lacking in discharging their duties.

Since 2009 the Indian army is waiting for the supply of over 3.53 lakh Bulletproof jackets but in reality, only 5000 pieces have been made available to them till October this year.

This despite the fact that the jawans have been complaining about the more heavier version of the jacket as it hinders the smooth movement during counterinsurgency operations on ground zero.

The army opted for a modern version to bail out the jawans. But lengthy procurement process stalled the immediate procurement of the crucial safety equipment.

As per new technological specifications, these Bulletproof jackets were meant to adequately protect the head, neck, chest, groin, and sides of foot-soldiers.

They would also have allowed soldiers to move with greater agility during counter-insurgency operations in hostile terrain.

According to official records, the original plan of purchasing Bulletproof jackets ran into rough weather as none of the samples approved during the tedious procurement process could fulfill the criteria. This happened when Congress-led UPA govt was in office.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued to 36 vendors on March 3, 2011, but had to be retracted on December 8th, 2011 to address issues in respect of conduct of trials.

The samples were submitted for field trials after the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) in October, 2009 for procurement of 3,53,765 Bulletproof jackets (BPJs), including quantity 1,86,138 to be procured in the 11th Army Plan.

As many as 1.86 lakh jackets were to be supplied to soldiers by 2012 and another 1.67 lakh vests were to be supplied by 2017 as per the original plan.

The Request for Proposal (RFP) was issued to 36 vendors on March 3, 2011, but had to be retracted on December 8th, 2011 to address issues in respect of conduct of trials.

The RFP was issued again on December 7th, 2012 to 39 vendors. However, as none of the BPJs produced by the vendors for trials were found to be compliant to the RFP parameters, the RFP was retracted on October 5th, 2015.

A fresh RFP has been issued on April 4th, 2016. On completion of the technical evaluation of the offers, trials will be scheduled by Army Headquarters. However, to meet the immediate requirement of Bulletproof jackets (BPJ) an order for supply of 50,000 BPJ’s through revenue expenditure route has been placed on March 31, 2016 against which the first consignment of 5000 BPJ’s have been delivered on October 15, 2016. Now it remains to be seen whether the lengthy process would be expedited to acquire the Bulletproof jackets or the ambitious plan to equip our soldiers with better safety equipment would once again meet the dead end and they would continue to suffer and indulge in chest thumping.
Note:
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.

Chandra Maurya

View Comments

  • Cent per cent in Agreement with the above 2 comments. There is also the highly "sensitive" and "patriotic" doubting Thomas's : a case in point is the "Highly Inflated" cost of the coffins obtained for the Kargill msrtyrs, placed on Mr George Fernandes and NDA . These "Patriots" will have to be "satisfied" first, before hand!

  • This has always filled me with consternation - I have often read reports ( even when Vajpayee was the PM) that our Indian Army is ill equipped. I recall after Kargil War some white paper was tabled by one k.Subrahmanyam . George Fernandez also said they lacked proper snow boots etc etc . At the same time we also read how film actors of actresses of Indian film industry get paid in several billions for every single ludicrous movie they act in. What the bollykolly actors do is but SIMULATION. And such movie makers get unduly feted as "patriotic'' movie makers.

    This is no way one honours Soldiers. It is a dishonour & gross Injustice. Their pay structure & that of our Police also need a thorough overhauling. Film industry is but make believe world. And does not deserve such undue pampering.

    Thank God I read Modi has extended insurance cover to Ayurvedic System of treatment for the first time in India. One Indian Army Soldier was denied this when he could have been cured of his injuries. So he was forced to choose allopathy which does no healing. Whereas when Rajendra Chozhan's Army marched on The King always ensured He was accompanied by highly skilled & competent Ayurvedic Physicians along with their Wives. Their wives also were knowledgeable. Thus avoiding amputations & permanent disabling.

    One very important factor is never to be forgotten. Rajendra Chozhan & His Ministers , the subjects were all very devout Hindus. There was no whiff of 'secular / atheistic' gobbledygook then.

  • We have successfully executed the mars mission but are unable to procure BPJ's for our brave jawans who make the supreme sacrifice by laying their lives for the country, this is absolutely unacceptable.
    What takes the bloody useless incompetent babus such a long time to sort out the RFP draft right in the first instance. As professor Madhav Nalapat rightly said, the next surgical strike should be against the babus, who are hell bent on holding this country's progress for personal gains. Start by sacking all the corrupt / incompetent UPA era babus that have been retained by Mr. Modi after forming the government in 2014.

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