Vintage rifles can’t fight new face of urban terror: top Indian cops

January 20th, 2009 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Jan 20 (IANS) Vintage World War I era firearms like the .303 rifles are no match to the new face of terror - heavily armed with sophisticated weapons and gadgets, said top Indian police officials here advocating the need for replacing them with sophisticated weapons like the Israeli Uzi and the German MP5 submachine guns.”We are still using the .303 rifles which are accurate and good in the field, but not in a combat situation while fighting terrorism in cities. The 9mm carbines that the police in India are using are almost obsolete now,” Koshy Koshy, Director General of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), told IANS Tuesday on the sidelines of the 39th All India Police Science Congress underway here.

“We need to buy more assault and combat rifles like the Uzi and MP5 weapons as fighting terrorism in the jungles and villages is different from populated cities where one would have to avoid collateral damage.”

The Heckler and Koch MP5 Submachine gun is a lightweight, air-cooled, magazine-fed, delayed blowback operated, select-fire weapon that can be shouldered or hand fired and is invariably very accurate with sustained fire modes.

“The Uzi and the MP5 are weapons now used by elite anti-terror forces in most parts of the world as the volume of fire is more and is very accurate and hence the in thing for security forces in tackling urban terror,” another senior police official said.

The wave of terror bombings in Assam in October last year has exposed how poorly equipped the state police force is - with World War I era firearms, defective bulletproof vests and insufficient numbers - to deal with heavily armed terrorists, say experts.

While 10 terrorists held Mumbai to ransom for more than 60 hours in November, another band of militants in Assam wreaked havoc on Oct 30, triggering serial explosions killing 95 people and wounding 300.

In most Indian states, the police force continue to fight with .303 rifles similar to the Lee Enfield weapons used by the British troops during World War I.

“There is need for specialization of the police force by imparting training and equipping them with more advanced weapons. Already the process is on,” Satyendra Garg, additional police commissioner (crime) of Delhi Police, said.

Even today, police in Assam wear plastic helmets and body protectors designed to ward off sticks and stones, rather than bullets as they fight terrorists armed with AK-47 rifles, pistols, grenades and RDX.

“The entire strategy and training module of the police force needs to be reformed, especially in view of the growing urban terror attacks seen in Assam and other places,” former Assam police chief Nishinath Changkakoty said.

The three-day session of the All India Police Science Congress is discussing, among other things, the need to change the face of the Indian police in view of the emerging threats of urban terrorism.

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