A friend in need is a friend indeed and that is what Russia is proving itself to be as the largest supplier of weapons to the country has been engaged by the Defence ministry to overcome the critical shortage of a particular tank ammunition faced by the Army.
Facing a critical shortage of ammunition for Army's fleet of T-90 and T-72 tanks after the blacklisting of an Israeli firm, the Defence Ministry is now looking to procure these shells from Russia.
The severe shortage of tank ammunition was first highlighted by then Army Chief Gen V K Singh in a top secret letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in March this year which later found its way to the media.
After the blacklisting of supplier of the FSAPDS (Fin Stabilized Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot) used by T-90 and T-72 tanks, Russia has now been approached for supplying these tank shells, Defence Ministry sources told PTI here.
A contract negotiation team under a Joint Secretary-level official had also gone to Moscow recently to discuss the price of FSAPDS ammunition but further parleys will have to be held to decide on the cost issue, they said.
To avoid such shortages in future, the Defence Ministry is also seeking a transfer of technology from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to produce the ammunition indigenously.
Gen Singh had pointed out in his letter that only three to four days of this particular ammunition was left in the inventory of the armoured regiments.
Later on, the Army had also informed the Standing Committee on Defence about the shortage and how the situation had worsened by the recent blacklisting of its supplier Israeli Military Industry (IMI).