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India's Special Forces to get American Assault Rifles, Ammunition, Parachutes

In a major boost to the firepower of Special Forces of Indian Army, sources said that the government has decided to buy assault rifles, ammunition, parachutes and several other specialised equipments from the US.

"Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is going to chair an important meeting where the proposal to buy the equipment worth over Rs 1,000 crore from the American Department of Defence is expected to be discussed," sources told ANI.

Sources added that during the meeting the Defence Minister will hold discussions over several types of equipments including assault rifles, ammunition and combat free fall parachutes for the Special Forces units of the Parachute Regiment of the Army.

"If the proposal goes through, the equipment would be acquired from the United States in a government-to-government deal under the Foreign Military Sales route," they said.

The Indian Army already has American M4A1 assault rifles, which are used extensively by security forces in counter-terrorism operations. It is learnt that the government is also planning to equip the Special Forces of Army with more carbines. These carbines will be like the Belgian rifles which are used by the Special Protection Group (SPG) guarding the Prime Minister.

In February, the Defence Ministry had inked a deal to procure 72,400 7.6mm Sig Sauer assault rifles under fast-track procedures. PTI had reported that the deal worth Rs 700 crore is aimed at modernising the infantry.

The Sig Sauer assault rifles are already being used by armed forces in the US and several European countries. Sources told PTI that the Defence Ministry has asked the US firm to deliver the rifles within a year. The Indian Army will receive a bulk - 66,400 - of the assault rifles, while the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy will get 4,000 and 2,000 rifles respectively.

The assault rifles could play an important role in boosting the firepower of troops in areas on the border with Pakistan and China. The Sig Sauer assault rifles are renowned for their firepower as well as reliability in extreme weather conditions.

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