New Delhi: A significant number of M-777 ultra-light howitzers has been deployed by the Indian Army to bolster its firepower in mountainous regions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Arunachal Pradesh, according to military officials.
Earlier, the howitzers were deployed in several sensitive areas in the Ladakh sector amid the lingering border standoff with China.
After the Galwan Valley clash in June 2020 that triggered a major escalation in tensions between the Indian and Chinese armies, India has been ramping up its overall military might in all strategically key areas along the nearly 3,500-km-long LAC.
The deployment of M-777 howitzers coupled with additional air assets including unmanned aerial vehicles, military aircraft and surveillance equipment has enhanced India’s military preparedness in the Arunachal Pradesh sector, army officials said. The deployment of ultra-light howitzers has addressed the challenge the Army was facing with regards to transportation of heavy artillery guns in the mountainous regions.
Last year, the Army deployed M-777 guns in Bum-La but now the howitzers are being pressed into service in Arunachal Pradesh’s RALP area, comprising several key mountainous regions. The ultra-light M-777 can be transported quickly in Chinook helicopters and provides the army operational flexibility based on situational requirements.
The addition of upgraded L70 air defence guns to the existing Bofors guns in the forward locations in Arunachal Pradesh also added additional might to the Army’s combat prowess. The L-70 guns were originally manufactured by Swedish defence firm Bofors AB in the 1950s and India started inducting over 1,000 of them in the 1960s. The guns have been upgraded by state-run Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
In a series of measures to boost its operational capabilities in the eastern sector bordering China, the Army has been putting an equal amount of focus on enhancing operational capability in the northern as well as eastern sectors.