India has reportedly signed an INR 880 crore deal with Israel to acquire 16,479 light machine guns (LMGs). The LMGs are to be used by the border troops deployed near the volatile Chinese and Pakistani borders, as per Times of India.
The 16,479 Negev 7.62×51 mm LMGs, however, will meet only part of the overall need for well over 43,000 such guns for the Indian Army, Airforce and the Navy.
“The Negev LMGs, developed by the Israel Weapons Industries, are combat-proven weapons currently used by several countries around the world. The shortfall, like in the case of assault rifles, will be made through a ‘Make in India’ project,” TOI quoted an unnamed official.
“The Negev LMGs will considerably improve the lethality and range of the Indian army troops as compared to their current weapons. The sanctioning of this operationally urgent and very critically needed weapon will boost the morale of the border troops,” the source added.
The Indian Army had first asked for new assault rifles and close-quarter battle carbines for its 382 infantry battalions way back in 2005, while the case for the LMGs was initiated in 2009. But the long-drawn acquisition projects were repeatedly discarded due to graft charges or unworkable technical parameters as well as the lack of indigenous options for well over a decade.