PM Modi inaugurates K-9 Vajra manufacturing facility in Hazira, Howitzer riding images go viral

L&T is manufacturing 100 units of the K9 Vajra self-propelled guns for the Indian Army in partnership with a South Korean firm. Two of the Howitzers will take part in the upcoming Republic Day parade.

PM Modi today inaugurated the Howitzer gun manufacturing unit in Gujarat’s Hazira today. Indian firm L&T had won the contract to manufacture 100 units of the  K-9 Vajra T 155mm /52 calibres tracked self-propelled guns in 2017.

The K-9 Vajras are the first of its kind self propelled guns to be manufactured in India. Two of the Howitzers will take part in the upcoming Republic Day parade. The self-propelled guns have a range of 38 kilometres and are manufactured by L&T in partnership with a South Korean firm.

On a day when most leaders of the motley gang that likes to call itself the ‘Mahagathbandhan’ or the ‘United Opposition’ are gathered in Kolkata for the ‘United India’ rally, PM Modi’s photos and the short 10-second video of him riding the mighty Howitzer went viral on the social media.

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However, though many media outlets and the Prime Minister himself had mentioned that word ‘tank’ with the images, it did not escape the scrutiny of the popular defence website Livefist. The Twitter handle of the website, which runs a very popular thread where they correct mistakes made by media outlets while describing military vehicles and weaponry, was quick to remind the PM that it was a Howitzer he was riding, not a tank.

PM Modi has been emphasising a lot over defence manufacturing under the Make in India program. Even in the much-discussed Rafale deal with the French government, the NDA government had included a 50% offset clause, under which various French companies will invest to the tunes of Rs 29,000 crores for defence manufacturing in India.

It is notable here that the Indian Army had not inducted any new heavy artillery since 1986 after the Bofors scandal rocked the nation. With the induction of the K9 Vajras and the BAE system’s M777 ultra-light Howitzers, the army is set to finally obtain some much-needed firepower.

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