NEW DELHI: It has been ten years since the Indian Army has first demanded the need for bullet-proof jackets. The army is yet to receive the light-weight modular jackets, the proposal for which was cleared six years before! The new jackets were supposed to be provided to the soldiers, to protect them from injuries during the counter-insurgency operations.
The defense acquisitions council has cleared the proposal for the acquisition of 1,86,138 bullet-proof jackets in October 2009. The council has taken the decision since the army was short of the armed jackets. In the primary round of acquisition the council has decided to equip with 1,86,138 bullet-proof jackets. However, there were no major developments in the acquisition process since then.
On the other hand, the army’s existing old and heavy jackets are approaching the end of their shelf-life in a year or so.
Seeing the urgency of the jackets, the Defense Minister Mr.Manohar Parrikar has earlier, ordered for an immediate acquisition of 50,000 bullet-proof jackets. However, anything of it is yet to materialize. Defense Ministry’s officials say that it will take at least six months for the procurement process.
The process for the acquisition is still at the trial evaluation stage. Each jacket is priced at Rs.50,000 making a total of Rs.930 crores for 1.86 lakh jackets in the primary stage. “Several parliamentary committees have not shown interest in understanding the urgency in the procurement of the bullet-proof jackets and hence, played with the lives of several soldiers, The Times of India reports.