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Posted at: Jan 12, 2019, 6:54 AM; last updated: Jan 12, 2019, 6:54 AM (IST)

New sniper rifles for soldiers in Valley soon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 11

Months after sniper rifles were used by Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists in the Kashmir valley, the Northern Command of the Army will start getting new sniper rifles from this month onwards. These rifles can fire at targets 1,500 metres away and tackle any such threat from militants and also the Pakistan army attempting such attacks from across the Line of Control (LoC).

A sniper rifle is a specialised deadly weapon due to its precision fire at ranges that are outside the range of normal rifles. Terrorists hit at four separate locations in Kashmir using such rifles in September and October last year. 

The first tranche of rifles, which are being procured for the Northern Command, will be separate from the tender of 5,719 sniper rifles floated by the Army. 

At present, the Army uses the Dragunov sniper rifle and largely at locations along the LoC. It’s a 1960s’ Soviet Union-designed weapon that has served its purpose and the need is to replace it with modern weapons.

The threat of sniper rifles in the Valley has added a new dimension. Sources privy to the information said the terrorist had been using the M-4 carbines, used by the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan. There is a possibility that these weapons may be part of the arms and ammunition stolen by Taliban, with whom the JeM cadre are allied in Afghanistan. The special forces of Pakistan Army also use the same weapon. 

The terrorist had mounted the M-4 carbine with a telescope and night vision devices were used to locate potential targets. The weapon can fire with precision at a target from 600 metres, any return fire by our security forces would be difficult to hit at the sniper. 

Focus on fighting insurgency  

  • The Ministry of Defence last March approved 41,000 light machine guns and 3.5 lakh carbines largely for fighting insurgency. Along with new sniper rifles, these will collectively cost Rs 7,607 crore
  • The MoD has also floated a tender for 6.80 lakh assault rifles for the three services. These will cost an estimated Rs 12,280 crore and replace the Army's existing three-decade-old INSAS

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