“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.”
– Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr.
India is one of those very few countries in the world which are surrounded by enemies on all sides. India also faces a unique problem of Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. In the case of a war, India needs to secure borders with both Pakistan and China as a joint invasion can’t be overruled considering the rapport both these countries share. Another miserable aspect is that for years now we have not upgraded the border infrastructure. The roads, airfields and other critical military installations remain in abysmal conditions till date.
Also for nearly 30 years Indian army had to suffer because of a scam under the regime of the then PM of India Rajiv Gandhi.
But the arrival of M-777 will surely be a game changer, with the digital fire-control system to provide navigation, pointing and self-location, allowing it to be put into action quickly and weighing less than 10000 lbs (4218 kilograms) with a range of 30 kms. It can be transported by helicopter and transport aircraft such as the C-130 and Chinook which India has signed to acquire. It can be slung under heavy-lift helicopters like the Chinook and transported to the battlefield and it needs a gun crew of only five. These guns have already proved their worthiness in Iraq and Afghanistan. So Indian Army is pretty sure that the M-777 guns will act as a force multiplier in the Sino-Indo border.
As Napoleon used to say “God fights on the side with the best artillery”
The 17 Mountain Strike Corps which is being raised at Panagarh will be using the M-777 primarily because being light-weight it can be moved through the Himalayan terrains which are famous for being narrow and treacherous.
The ghost of the defeat of 1962 still haunts Indian Army but the Political bosses didn’t take any action to prevent the repeating the same mistake. The recent step of acquisition M-777 is a welcome step.
In signing this 737 million contract what has been taken into consideration is also the fact that only 25 will be purchased in ready to use condition the rest 120 of total 145 will be manufactured in India by BAE in collaboration with Mahindra & Mahindra it will give an impetus to the Make in India program.
The plan is to induct five guns every month between March 2019 and June 2021. The test fire will be conducted on 20 & 21 of this month in Pokhran, Rajasthan to test whether it can be deployed in the Himalayan Mountains which border china.
A strong mountain strike corps has become very much necessary considering the 2015 People’s Republic of China military reform as a part of which the seven military regions were reorganized into five theater commands.
The era of long wars is gone now the invasions will be short term inflicting maximum damage on the country. So mobility has become the deciding factor it was an airlift by IAF of 5 AMX-13 tanks that saved the entire Ladakh from falling to China in 1962, M-777 will surely do more and will be much useful in any future conflict with India.
M-777 is India’s bold message to China, we are not the same country anymore and 1962 will not be repeated.
But the message we have sent to the world at large is simple we have a government which means business and now defense acquisition won’t be mired by corruption allegations neither will be the interest of the country compromised in any way.
Also, this will strengthen the cooperation between the US and Indian Army. With deals like this more private players will venture into defense sector and so our external dependence will also decrease.