India’s artillery modernisation plans got a jump start on Thursday as after three decades of limbo, the Indian Army got first modern 155mm artillery guns.
Two of the 145 M-777 ultra-light howitzers ordered from the US arrived in New Delhi on Thursday morning. The guns will be tested at Pokhran in the evening on the anniversary of Pokhran test in 1974.
It was exactly 43 years ago on the same date at the same place that the Indira Gandhi government carried out the first nuclear weapons test under the codename Smiling Buddha, which took the entire world by surprise because of its secrecy and ease with which it was conducted.
It is the first induction of the howitzers after the Bofors scandal broke out nearly 30 years ago. The scandal had badly hit the artillery modernisation of the Indian Army.
The howitzers are being procured for the Indian Army and will be deployed along the India-China border.
India has struck a government-to-government deal for 145 howitzers with the US at a cost of around USD 700 million.
As per the deal, the first 25 guns will be bought directly from the US and the rest will be assembled in India.