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As Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s third term commences, the Defence Ministry is poised to embark on an ambitious journey of modernisation, marking a pivotal shift in India’s defence capabilities. With the agenda for the first 100 days of the new government being meticulously outlined, a significant focus is placed on bolstering the Indian Army’s artillery strength through the procurement of advanced weaponry.

One of the headline initiatives is the anticipated conclusion of a deal for the acquisition of 100 K9 Vajra artillery guns from Larsen & Toubro (L&T), expected to be finalized by August this year. This strategic move comes as part of a broader effort to enhance the Indian Army’s operational readiness and firepower.

The Indian Army’s familiarity with the K9 Vajra is well-established, having already integrated 100 units of these self-propelled howitzers into its arsenal. Originally acquired for desert warfare, these artillery guns have demonstrated their versatility and resilience by being deployed in high-altitude regions near the Line of Actual Control (LAC), a response to increasing military activities by China.

The second batch of K9 Vajra artillery guns will not only bolster the existing firepower but also come with significant upgrades tailored for extreme conditions. The addition of a winter kit is a crucial enhancement, ensuring that the engine can start in sub-zero temperatures. Furthermore, the installation of additional heaters will prevent the fuel and other oil lines from freezing, thereby maintaining the artillery’s operational readiness even in the harshest climates.

While the acquisition of K9 Vajra artillery guns is a significant step, it is part of a larger framework of modernisation. The Defence Ministry’s agenda for the first 100 days under Modi 3.0 includes a comprehensive review of current capabilities, identifying areas for improvement, and expediting procurement processes to ensure that the armed forces are equipped with cutting-edge technology and equipment.