11:55 GMT +312 December 2019
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    Indian Army to Receive Bullet-Proof Helmets After Two Decades of Shortages

    © AFP 2019 / PRAKASH SINGH
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    Indian soldiers on counter-insurgency deployment often have to do without basic safety equipment like bulletproof jackets and helmets. The army has placed a huge order for ballistic helmets that will save the lives of soldiers in close quarter combat.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Indian Army may soon start receiving the badly required advanced ballistic helmets from a local manufacturer. It has placed orders for 160,000 helmets under a fast-track plan. This is the first such large-scale order of helmets in decades. The ballistic helmet will be able to stop 9 mm bullets from close to 20 meters. The lightweight helmets will also be equipped with communication headsets, sources told Sputnik. The Indian Army has a shortage of close to 390,000 bullet-proof helmets.

    The need for ballistic helmets was mentioned upfront by the new Indian Army chief Gen. Bipin Rawat at his first press conference. "Several casualties take place because of bullet injuries. We are looking at ballistic helmets. Today we are using a patka (a lightly armored wraparound) which only protects one's forehead," Gen. Rawat said.

    Indian soldiers are fighting close range fights with terrorists and snipers from across the border without basic safety equipment. Indian quasi-military forces fare worse with ballistic helmet shortage touching 90 per cent.

    The Central Reserve Police Force, deployed in Kashmir, is 350,000-strong but has about 2,000 bulletproof helmets. "The reason for the deficiency is non-availability of helmets with the desired protection level against 7.62 mm bullet," the Indian Home Ministry had informed Parliament last year.

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