Indian Army remains the black sheep among the Armed Forces when it comes to procurement. Over past three years, I have agonized that Indian Army is its own worst enemy. The Army Generals remain incompetent when it comes to make their own weapon and fight. I have always maintained that we should import officers to Indian Army, instead of weapon systems. It is not that we cannot make a 155 mm gun. We need officers with vision and patience to fight with own equipment and doctrines.
The 145 M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers (ULH) that is to be purchased from US via an inter-governmental agreement is now under cloud. The old reasons of leaked reports and scams have surfaced. What is new is that, this time the much flogged DRDO made its point. DRDO has always complained that Indian Army has different standards for foreign vendors and the DRDO. While, Indian Army will script space age specification, standards and hostile evaluations for DRDO products, it will bend back and reduce specifications for a imported weapon system.The Foreign Military Sales (FMS) may be dubbed as a scam free way of doing business with the US, but, the procedure has enough space for kickback via over invoicing and other ways.
It has been almost 20 years that Indian Army has been requiring an 155 mm gun. It surely knows that it is a political hot potato and massive burden on over taxed Indian masses. Indian Army has not taken an initiative to ask DRDO or private sector to build a gun. Even though the purchases are a function of Ministry of Defence, the Indian Navy has shown the way that it is up to the forces to armed forces on how it can influence its buy decisions.
When will the Indian Army learn?