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Controversy clouds army's plan to buy new assault rifle.

THE army's plan to buy a new assault rifle continues to be marred by controversy as fresh complaints have surfaced over its acquisition process. The army is seeking to place a mammoth order for over 6,500 multicaliber assault rifles. The order size could increase as the infantry's weapon demands are much higher.

Critics claim that this purchase has been framed in such a manner that it suites a particular vendor -- the Italian company Beretta ARX- 160. Specific complaints have been lodged at the ministry, with claims that the army's specification of the barrel length exactly matches the one provided by Beretta.

The rationale behind choosing a multi- calibre assault rifle has also been questioned as other leading gun manufacturers such as IWI, Colt Defence, CZ and SIG Sauer, do not even have a credible weapon in this category.

On the charge of a particular company getting a head start because of " tailormade" specifications, the complaints have pointed to the controversy surrounding a contract for the Border Security Force where the problem of corrosion in barrels has surfaced in the new guns.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 20, 2012
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