Border Security Force, the country's first line of defence along Pakistan, is set to modernise its war stores and acquire over 700 pieces of automated mortar firing systems which will enable its troops to launch accurate and lethal rocket strikes.
The largest border guarding force of India, which has close to 20 artillery units for combat duties along the western theatre, has decided to procure the most advanced Automated Mortar Fire Direction Controller (AMFDC) which helps troops to fire targeted mortars and explosive shells on enemy positions.
The system provides for an on-board fire control system that includes a command computer platform, navigation system, and gun pointing system. The device allows military crews to fire in less than a minute's time as compared to the current five-six minutes and the accuracy of the hit gets enhanced by four to five times.
The device is used in modern warfare by armies as it reduces the exposure time of the crew and troops thereby securing them in a war zone.
The BSF, sources said, has got sanction from the government to procure 769 such pieces which will be subsequently deployed at BSF locations along the Indo-Pak border.
The development assumes significance as the force is facing the brunt of the recent spate of ceasefire violations and unprovoked firing from across Pakistan.
"This is a part of the modernisation plan of the BSF which is the first responder in case of a war with Pakistan. During peace time like now, the BSF operates under the operational command of the Army and is the first line of defence for enemy onslaught," a senior official said.
The force, according to a blueprint prepared in this regard, is wanting to modernise the medium-range guns and other mortar shelling weapons possessed by it and these need to be put on a digital and electronic platform on the lines of the Army so that in any exigency or emergency the force could respond effectively.
The projected budget requirement for this programme is about Rs 100 crore and it includes training of BSF troopers on the electronic firing platforms and procuring spares for various batteries and technical accessories for the system.
The decision in this regard has been taken after over two decades and it has been prompted by the new doctrine of modern warfare and challenges of securing sensitive borders.
The battalions of the paramilitary are spread across border posts in the states of Gujarat, Punjab, Rajasthan and Jammu and Kashmir.
Officials said while the force possesses the military weapons might in its armoury, the need of the hour is to keep in mind the strategies of modern warfare which will warrant immediate mobilisation of multiple platforms to combat the enemy.
The 48-year-old force has seen all the full-fledged wars and conflicts India had with Pakistan and its men and officers have fought with the Army shoulder-to-shoulder on the frontier.
The BSF has also used its artillery units in these various confrontations.
The force at present has close to 2.5-lakh men and women in its ranks.