The stock of as many as 61 types of ammunition – out of a total of 152 types of ammunition considered critical by the Indian Army to fight a war – is available for just 10 days only, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has found.
The stocks of just 20 per cent of the armoury – 31 types of ammunition – were found to be satisfactory, the CAG has found. The CAG report was placed before the Parliament today.
The Indian military is required to hold ammunition enough to fight a short intense war of 20 days. Earlier, Indian military was required to have store supplies, spares and ammunition – called War Wastage Reserve (WWR) – to fight a 40 day intense war. In 1999 the WWR was scaled down to only 20 days.
The CAG says that of the 152 types of ammunition identified as critical stocks of only 31 were available for 40 days whereas as many as 12 types of ammunition was available for 30 to 40 days and stocks of as many of 26 types of ammunition was available for a little over 20 days.
The CAG report says that while WWR stocks of some of the critical items have improved – for instance explosives and demolition items- ammunition for Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV) and Artillery ammunition “meant for sustaining superior fire power were under critical level”.
SHORTFALL NOT MET DESPITE SPECIAL PLAN
Concerned by shortfall, the previous UPA government had come up with a plan – Ammunition Road Map – to rapidly add to ammunition stocks by 2015. The CAG report, however, observes that “despite a lapse of more than three years – from March 2013- no significant improvement in availability of WWR ammunition was noticed”.
SHORTAGE OF AMMUNITION AFFECTS TRAINING OF SOLDIERS
Lack of ammunition stocks is severely affecting training of the Indian Army. The CAG has observed because of shortage of ammunition, the Army Head Quarters had imposed “restriction” on training. It says in 2016, of the 24 types of ammunition required for training only three were available for more than five days for training activity. And, the availability of as much as 88 per cent of ammunition was far below requirement. “Majority of training ammunition – 77 to 88 per cent – remained critical i.e. less than five day”.
Concerned by huge shortfall of ammunition, the Government recently gave the vice-chief of Army Staff powers to make to emergency purchases.
Sources told India Today that the Indian Army has identified 46 types of ammunition, about half dozen types of mines and 10 weapon systems as extremely critical. “These can now be purchased immediately bypassing the long winded procurement procedure,” a senior officer said.