Infantry: September 7, 2003


India is spending $65 million over the next four years to train and equip a commando ("Ghatak") platoon for each of its infantry battalions. India has 319 regular infantry battalions (plus 25 mechanized, eight parachute and three commando infantry battalions). The new platoons are intended to make the infantry more effective in dealing with irregulars in Kashmir and the northeast tribal areas. The Ghatak troops would be trained to perform commando type operations (raids, long range patrols), especially at night. Thus one of the things the Ghatak troops will get will be night vision equipment. There will also be more radios, probably including individual radios. There will also be additional weapons (sniper rifles, more compact assault rifles, day/night scopes) as well. The Ghatak training will enable the troops to specialize in the more dangerous aspects of dealing with irregulars, thus making duty against irregulars less unpopular with the troops. This program will give India another 12,000 commando type soldiers. In addition to the Ghatak units, $62 million will be spent over the next two years to equip engineers with better mine detection and clearing equipment, as well as equipment for detecting and disabling all manner of explosive devices irregular forces use in ambushes. The mines and booby traps are, as can be imagined, bad for troop morale, and this program is expected to be even more popular than the Ghatak platoons. 


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