IWI of Israel's Negev NG7 Light Machine Gun

The light machine guns (LMGs) are eagerly awaited. The IWI of Israel is expected to supply about 16,000 LMGs

New Delhi: The US-made state-of-the-art Sig Sauer assault rifles have reached the Indian Army's Jawans fighting terrorists along the Line of Control, but the arrival of other essentials like the carbine and the light machine gun are a long way off.

The delay is baffling; both the carbine and the light machine-gun were fast-track purchases (FTPs) and the go-ahead came shortly after the 71-day face-off between the Indian and Chinese armies in the Doklam area. Normally, FTPs are expected to arrive in about six to seven months, but both weapons, cleared over a year ago, seem a long way off. 

The issue is likely to come up in the Defence Acquisition Council meeting on January 17 as an "update". The defence minister, Rajnath Singh, the new chief of defence staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and the three chiefs are part of the council. 

The initial proposal for the carbine, a "close-contact" weapon, useful for soldiers fighting terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, was made exactly two years ago. The trials were held in July 2018 and Caracal, of the United Arab Emirates was L1, or the most cost-effective option. The deal is for 93,000 carbines and the cost, about Rs 800 crore. Army men were looking forward to the carbines as jawans haven't had them for over a dozen years.