Indian security forces have been battling local insurgents and terrorists in various parts of the country without donning fully protective gear, including bulletproof vests. The Indian army itself would be requiring about 100,000 jackets annually over the next 10 years.

Indian security forces have successfully tested home-grown lightweight bulletproof jackets that will come much cheaper than what they are buying at present. The prototype, named Bhabha Kavach, was developed by the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) — India's multi-disciplinary nuclear research centre which transferred the technology to firms for mass production.

"Test samples of ballistic shield capable of giving protection against armour-piercing bullets (Level IV) have been developed and successfully tested by Central Reserve Police Forces. 10 numbers of Bhabha Kavach specially made for field trials in anti-terrorist operations have also been successfully tested," K.N. Vyas, the director of BARC, said.

The jackets were tested in Jammu and Kashmir, where Indian security forces have been battling militants for the past many years. The jacket is developed through a special process to strengthen high molecular weight polyethylene, resulting in high ballistic performance composite sheets. The jackets weigh less than 3.5 kg and can provide protection against hard steel core bullets used in guns such as the AK-47.

In April this year, India's Defence Ministry signed a contract with the private firm SMPP for the supply of 1,86,000 bulletproof jackets to the army in the next three years. The contracted jackets are heavier than the Bhabha Kavach. With the successful trial of the Bhabha Kavach, it is now being estimated that it would constitute at least 50% of the total requirement of the Indian Armed Forces.