In a bid to provide more firepower to its special forces for anti-terrorist and counter insurgency roles, the Army is considering procuring 9 mm semi automatic pistols and new General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMG).
"From the experiences during various operations in urban areas and close combat, we have realised that weapons with 9mm calibre bullets are capable of bringing down the terrorists instantly due to their impact. That is why we are planning to procure more advanced pistols for our special forces and other para units," Army sources said here.
The new pistols, they said, will be equipped with night-fighting equipment such as laser illumination and high intensity flashlights.
"This equipment will help in increasing the night-fighting capabilities of our troops in situations such as the Mumbai terror strikes where terrorist were holding up inside the Taj and Oberoi hotels and firing and operating taking cover of the darkness," they said.
At the moment, the Army units have Beretta 9 mm pistols, which were procured more than a decade ago. The Army, sources said, would like to procure pistols similar to the Glock-17s, which are in service with the National Security Guards and were used during the Operation Black Tornado in Mumbai.
On the lookout for new GPMGs for the SF units, the sources said the need for inducting a greater number of these guns has been felt after the success of these weapons by the US and NATO forces against the Al Qaeda and Taliban in Iraq and Afghanistan in the recent times.
"We have seen that in counter insurgency and hard-hitting operations in open areas, these guns have delivered the results for the Americans and their allies in recent past. So, we would also want to induct these guns in larger numbers as we have quite a limited number of them with us," they said.
GPMGs also known as Medium Machine Guns have 7.62 mm calibre rounds and have a longer range. "We are looking to procure GPMGs, with a range of over 1200 metres and which are light and can be carried by our troops even during free fall from parachutes," they said.
After the attacks in Mumbai last year, Army's special forces have also been assigned the role of acting as anti-terror units along with the National Security Guards and they have been procuring equipment and systems for carrying out 26/11 type operations.
Army's units such as 10 Para (SF) and 2 Para (SF) have been carrying out the role of anti-terror units in their respective areas of responsibility since then. These units are also involved in training other infantry units in the urban centres to create a network of anti-terror units across the country.
Early this year, the Army also appointed a Major General rank officer as Additional Director General (SF) to hasten the procurements for these elite units and also to define their roles and operations in the future.