Navy to acquire sniper rifles to tackle pirate threat

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New Delhi, Jan 112 (PTI) With pirates expanding theirinfluence from the Gulf of Aden to the Arabian Sea, close toIndian territory, the Navy is planning to equip its sailorswith sniper rifles to deal with the threat.

"Pirates have now been spotted operating nearLakshadweep islands also. We are planning to acquire sniperrifles, which would also be used by sailors on ships to takeon these pirates," Navy officials said here.

The Navy has already started the process by issuing aglobal Request for Information (RFI) which says that theweapons should have "long range" and would be used in a"predominant maritime environment".

Navy has deployed its ships in the Gulf of Aden sinceDecember 2008 and has also increased its presence in thecentral Arabian Sea to deter the pirates from increasing theirinfluence in the region.

In some of the anti-piracy operations, Navy''s eliteMARCOS have also taken part. To upgrade the capabilities ofits elite commandos, the Navy has made several acquisitionsincluding over 1,000 Israeli Tavor Assault Rifles (TAR) 21 and30 Galil Sniper rifles.

The Tavor is a close-quarter combat 5.56mm rifle andwill replace the AK-104 and the INSAS rifles used by theMARCOS.

The rifle is already in use by the Special Forces ofthe Indian Army, which inducted over 3,000 of them a few yearsago and have been successfully used in counter-insurgencyoperations in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.

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