NEW DELHI, India, Jan. 15, Reuter: India showed off its newly acquired Bofors field guns on Friday and its Chief of Staff issued warning to potential AZETESSOTS.
Two of the 155mm weapons, which India has bought from Sweden in a 1.3 billion dollar contract Surrounded by charges of bribery and political corruption, were on display for the first time at the army day parade, which served as a curtain raiser for the much larger Republic Day parade on January 26.
The Chief of Staff, General Krishnaswami Sunderji, in a speech to the parade also attended by foreign military attaches said Indian combat readiness had been put to the test more than once in the past year.
“We were challenged by Pakistan in Siachen (Kashmir) where our brave officers and men gave a fitting reply. Our responses to the Chinese intrusion in Sumdorong, Chu (on the Tibet border) have left no one in any doubt about our resolve…” he said.
Turning to the Indian peacekeeping force in Sri Lanka, Sunderji said Indian soldiers had executed their task “with rare compassion and determination”,
India has fought three wars against Pakistan and one against China since independence in 1947, and border incidents on both fronts continue.
Sundarji described India as a peace loving nation but warned its potential adversaries not to mistake this for a sign of weakness. India was better prepared and more determined than ever, he said.
“We do not want war, but if one is thrust upon us again, we shall resist and retaliate with all our might to make the aggressor pay heavily for his misadventure”, he said.
The Bofors gun is an automatically loading Howitzer which can fire three 42.6 kg (101 pound) shells up to 30 km (18 miles) in 13 seconds.
The Swedish company won the order against competing bids from Australia, France and an Anglo German consortium, But India is investigating allegations that Bofors paid more than 40 million dollars to middlemen including highly placed Indian politicians, to secure the contract.
The Indian army also showed off its latest Osa-Ak low level air defense missile system and a new armored recovery vehicle designed to repair or recover damaged tanks on the battlefields.
Army spokesman said the planned first showing of India’s indigenously designed Arjun Prototype main battle tank had been postponed until the Republic Day parade.
Article extracted from this publication >> January 22, 1988