Indian Army gets its first howitzers after nearly 30 years
The first batch of US howitzers were inducted into the Indian Army today, the first time that India procured the artillery guns after the Bofors scandal nearly 30 years ago.
Two of the 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers, manufactured by BAE systems, arrived in India from the US today, ahead of schedule.
They will reportedly be test- fired at Rajasthan's Pokhran field firing range today.
The howitzers will be deployed along the India-China border.
The Bofors scandal had badly hit the artillery modernisation of the Indian Army.
India has struck a government-to-government deal for 145 howitzers with the US at a cost of around $700 million.
As per the deal, the first 25 guns will be bought directly from the US while the remaining will be assembled in India by Mahindra.
"We continue to support the US government in integrating its weapon systems with the Indian Army's artillery modernisation programme," an official from BAE Systems told PTI.
The Army plans to upgrade its artillery formations, and is in the process of acquiring five different types of artillery guns under a modernisation plan of Rs 22,000 crore, NDTV reported.
The Army has not inducted any modern artillery gun after the Bofors scandal involving the procurement of Swedish Howitzers broke out in the Eighties.
The alleged kickbacks in the deal put a dent on all subsequent deals for the modernisation of the artillery.