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UPA Vs. NDA – One Could Not Give Bulletproof Jackets to its Own Army and Other is Exporting it to the World

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An All India Radio Report suggests that “India has begun exporting bulletproof jackets as per its own standards to over 100 countries including European nations. India is the fourth country after the US, UK and Germany to have its own national standard on the bulletproof jacket which provides 360-degree protection.”

This story is a classic example of what has changed in India in the last 5 years. It will be surprising to know that there was a time when the UPA government couldn’t even fulfill the demand of bulletproof jackets of Indian army, let alone exporting them to the world.

Let’s see how things have unfolded in the last 10 years.

2009 – Army raised the requirement of bulletproof jackets for its people. UPA government in the next 5 years until 2014 couldn’t do anything concrete about it.

2018 – NDA government recognized the need for strengthening the warfare capabilities of armed forces. And, they were supplied with the bulletproof jackets.

2019 – Not only NDA government supplied these to the Indian army but also ensured that India produces bulletproof jackets of international standards, leading to make India an exporter.

According to the above report published in The Economic Times, a Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) official has said the following.

I understand that bulletproof jackets are not only produced and procured in India as per the BIS standards but also being sold in 100 other countries

In December 2018, the BIS framed a national standard for bulletproof jacket following a direction from the Prime Minister’s Office and the Niti Aayog.

The standard on bulletproof jacket was published in December 2018 and now everybody is implementing it.

Under the Make in India programme, we have the world class facility and design capabilities. We are exporting these jackets to more than 100 countries even in Europe.”

When there is a will to make the country a hub of defence manufacturing, there is always a way. Niti Aayog member and former DRDO chief V K Saraswat had informed the public about interest shown by 4-5 countries to produce raw materials locally for manufacturing of bulletproof jackets in the country.

The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had given directives to Niti Aayog, government’s think tank, to come out with a plan to give a boost to domestic manufacturing of bulletproof jackets.

Bhabha Kavach – India’s indigenously produced bulletproof jacket

India’s first lightest and locally produced bulletproof jacket was launched at International Police Expo 2019 in Delhi.

Bhabha Kavach on display at International Police Expo 2019                              Source: Business Standard

This jacket has been developed jointly by Ordnance Factories Board and the MIDHANI, a public sector metals and metal alloys manufacturer. Bhabha Kavach is powered by the nanotechnology from Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, thus named after it.

The bulletproof jacket weighs 9.2 kilograms and can block 7.62 mm hard steel core bullets from AK-47 assault rifles and 5.56 mm bullet from INSAS rifle.

Thus, in the last 10 years from 2009 to 2019, India has come a long way as far as bulletproof jackets are concerned. From no availability for India’s own army to becoming a leading exporter of world-class bulletproof jackets, the journey shows the strong political will behind developing India’s own military-industrial complex.