India's F-INSAS programme is long overdue and needs to be fast-forwarded as security threats posed by Pakistan and China are steadily escalating. An aggregate of 'System of Sub-Systems' to transform the soldiers into a self-contained fighting machine enabling him to operate across the entire spectrum of future battles including nuclear war and low intensity conflict in a network-centric environment.
Today's conflict situations require operational troops capable of dealing with hi-tech war that will be short and intense plus contending with fleeting opportunities. The technology enabled man-machine-technology mix, a weapon platform with adequate firepower, self-protection, night fighting capability, mobility and right kind of support systems is essential in today's context. However, there is little to talk of indigenous R&D in equipping the Indian combat soldier. The 5.56 INSAS rifle developed after an excruciatingly long period of 15 years, was hardly comparable to modern assault rifles. The DRDO has not even been able to produce an appropriate carbine and light machine gun, latter having failed during trials.
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