New Delhi, July 2: The Indian Army’s demand for a separate attack helicopter fleet to support its ground troops during battle has got a boost with Defence Minister A.K. Antony discussing the proposal with army chief Gen. Bikram Singh Monday during a review meeting here.
At present, the army relies on the Indian Air Force’s two attack helicopters squadrons comprising of Mi-25 and Mi-35 helicopters to provide support to its troops that go on an offensive in battlefields.
Antony also sought details of the army’s plans for capital acquistion and infrastructure development in the eastern sector bordering China, apart from improving of its unmanned aerial vehicles fleet, night vision and air lift capabilities, according to top defence ministry sources.
After hearing out and watching a presentation made by the army chief on capital acquistions, requirement of ammunition and infrastructure development in north-east, Antony asked the army to bring about systematic changes in its organisational and procurement processes, apart from prioritising and focusing on critical areas of requirements.
He also told Gen. Bikram Singh and his team to “utilise the annual budget fully”.
The meeting also reviewed the army’s force accretion plans for both the eastern and the western sectors, bordering China and Pakistan, infrastructure development in the north-eastern states, enhancing of the air lift capability in the eastern sector, and increasing of reconniassance and surveillance capabilities, the sources said.
The meeting at South Block, the seat of the Indian defence ministry, is a continuation of a process that Antony had initiated in April this year — to meet the army top brass for quick acquisition review meetings and finalising of proposals and plans.
This measure followed the leaking of a top secret letter that then chief Gen. V.K. Singh wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to highlight deficiencies in the force’s operational preparedness.