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Rajat Pandit | Nov 07, 2016

The Army’s much-delayed modernization drive continues to be stymied by cumbersome procurement procedures, bureaucratic bottlenecks and corruption allegations at a time when border tensions with Pakistan are at an unprecedented high in recent years. After the scrapping of the long-pending mega tenders for new-generation assault rifles and close-quarter battle carbines due to a mix of unrealistic technical parameters and graft allegations, the Army’s case for urgent induction of the M-777 ultra-light howitzers for the China front received another setback on Saturday. Defence ministry sources said the Pentagon’s “letter of offer and acceptance (LoA)” to sell 145 the M-777s to India for $737 million “expired” on Saturday. “The LoA for the government-to-government deal was valid only until November 5.

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