Import of gadgets and weapons for the security forces is "not a happy situation" as foreign manufacturers do not meet Indian requirements in an optimal fashion, the CRPF chief today said.
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) Director General Pranay Sahay also said that indigenous research and development done by local companies was "not upto the mark".
"We have seen that the local industry has been unable to produce what the forces need. The gadgets and weapons are largely imported and this is not at all a happy situation. The gadgets that get manufactured there (in foreign) do not meet our requirements in an optimal fashion," he said at a conference organised by industry body PHDCCI.
Speaking on 'Expectation of Counter-insurgency Forces from Industry,' the CRPF chief, whose about 3-lakh personnel is the mainstay of counter-Maoist operations, said procurement of high-end gadgets like Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and weaponry is being done from overseas which is a time taking exercise and is "affecting operations."
As the procurement requirements of the central security forces keep fluctuating, only second rung international companies participate and "we have to depend on indigenous organisations like DRDO, Ordnance factories and central public sector undertakings."
"They (Indian firms and PSUs) have their own limitations.They cannot produce as much as we need," he said.
"The local research and development has not been upto the mark," he said.
"What we get is either imported from foreign vendors or a domestic subsidiary of the foreign vendor brings it in India from outside.We have to create something original from scratch here in the country and not merely produce it by bringing it from outside," Sahay said.
Speaking on the food available for the troops, he said the ready-to-eat meals given to troops in operations are also heavier and have low nutritional value as compared to what other countries provide their strike squads.
A CRPF commando carries a food pouch weighing 1.74kg while for a personnel in the United States forces it is 600 grams, he said.
Similarly, the CRPF wants to improve the quality of drinking water that it gives to its fighting squads by removing more pathogens, he said.
"We need helmets which can protect us from rifle bullets...what we have now only saves a troop from pistol firing," the DG said.
Even life saving medical strips that are given to troops in combat are branded and it becomes difficult to import them, he said.
He asked the Indian industry to "do their bit in fighting insurgency" by manufacturing weapons and gadgets required by security forces which include anti-material rifles, mine protected vehicles, night vision devices and personnel locator beacons or GPS sets.
Echoing Sahay's views, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) DG Arun Chaudhary, said, "What we need today is indigenisation of security industry in India. As gadgets and equipment that we need are not made locally, their cost escalates. We cannot afford these (foreign gadgets) as far as security forces are concerned."