Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mine resistant vehicles should be available for the Security forces operating in Maoist areas

One of the recent news titles read like this – “Maoist rebels ambushed a patrol team in central India on Tuesday, killing atleast 15 paramilitary Police men” (Gadchiroli District, Maharashtra). Reason? A land mine blew up their vehicle.

This was not the first time security personals became prey for land mines. But what make me anxious is we are yet to plug the gaps. Now-a-days it is possible to assemble mines and IEDs without much effort or input cost. This scheme is easy for insurgents, as they can inflict heavy damages on the state apparatus without losing anyone from their rank and file.

Now read another title, ‘More Mine-resistant Vehicles Flow to Afghanistan’ - US Department of Defence (June 9, 2009). Reason? According to former US Navy Admiral Mike Mullen IEDs become more and more sophisticated over time. Combined with increasingly sophisticated Taliban attacks, they pose an increasing threat to deployed troops.

Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) is a term indicating armoured fighting vehicles used by the forces for surviving from explosion of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attacks and ambushes. It’s peculiar design act as a shield for the crew.

Earlier MRAP designs draw much criticism because of the excessive weight and low comfort offered to the crew. However the subsequent designs are showing much improvement in these areas.

Armoured Caterpiller D9R
Another important category of vehicles which can be used in this kind of hostile environments are Armoured Bulldozers like IDF Caterpiller D9R - the customized version of Caterpillar D9. This can be used for Mounting sand barriers, building fortifications, clearing landmines, detonating IED's and explosives etc. During the fighting this vehicle even withstood RPGs and belly charges with more than 100 kg and even half a ton of explosive.

We are not the only forces facing the threat of land mines and IEDs; U.S. and British forces too faced the same in Iraq and Afghanistan. So as armies of many other countries operating in various conflict zones. If MRAP's and vehicles of similar class are able to reduce the causalities, there should not be any reason for any delay in absorbing it to the Paramilitary and Police forces operating in the Maoist hit areas.


Photo courtesy: Wikipedia (Later edited to suit this article)

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