For the soldiers on the Line of Actual Control, facing Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops barely 300 to 500 metres away and those in posts on the Line of Control, new weapons are coming.

Or rather, many more of the state of the art Sig Sauer 716 assault rifles that are coming in from the United States. After the first batch of about 66, 400 for the army, the second batch of 73,000 will come up for approval before the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh early next week.

The three service chiefs and the Chief of Defence Staff are part of the committee along with the defence secretary and DRDO chief.

The new purchases will ensure that all frontline infantry battalions will have the same weapons. If about 800 assault rifles are earmarked for each battalion, there are enough for about 170. Plus, some would be in training units.

As this is a repeat order, there is no need for trials and price negotiations, always time-consuming. The deliveries can happen soon after the contract is signed.

While the assault rifle is cleared, the purchase of the carbine, from Caracal in the UAE remains in the pipeline. It’s not clear if it will happen and if it does, when. While an AK-203 manufacturing plant is being made in India, soldiers are still a long way from getting the Russian designed assault rifles.