Stressing that future wars will be fought in difficult terrains and circumstances, Army chief Bipin Rawat on Monday said there was a “huge requirement” of modernising the country’s armed forces.’

Speaking at an Army technology seminar in the national capital, General Rawat said that armed forces which are technologically advanced would play a key role in operations in the times to come

“There is a huge requirement of modernisation of our armed forces, in every field. The future wars will be fought in difficult terrains and circumstances and we have to be prepared for them,” he said.

“The Indian Army is on the right track towards using technology and that support from relevant industries would be crucial,” he added.

Noting that a good headway has been made in lightweight bullet-proof material and fuel cell technology, Rawat said the “journey has begun and this must continue”.

“We are confident that if we get support from industry, we will walk the extra mile to ensure that we utilize the technology you give us,” he said.

Rawat’s comment comes days after India cancelled a $500 million deal with an Israeli firm to develop anti-tank guided missiles.

However, in October 2017, the Army had finalised one of its biggest procurement plans for infantry modernisation under which a large number of light machine guns, battle carbines and assault rifles will be purchased at an estimated cost of Rs.40,000 crore.

The world’s second largest standing Army has been pressing for fast-tracking the procurement of various weapons systems considering the evolving security threats including along India’s borders with Pakistan and China.

The government has already sent a message to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to expedite its work on various small arms, particularly on an LMG.

The Army needs around 7 lakh 7.62×51 mm assault guns to replace its INSAS rifles. The Army had issued RFI for the rifles in September last year and around 20 firms responded to it.

An RFI is a process whose purpose is to collect information about capabilities of various vendors. In June, the Army had kick-started the initial process to procure around 44,600 carbines, nearly eight months after a tender for it was retracted, also due to a single-vendor situation.

(With inputs from agencies)