India has begun exporting its bulletproof jackets to over 100 countries now. As per a report in The Economic Times, an official from the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has informed that Indian made bulletproof jackets are made as per India’s own standards which are in conformation with international norms for the jackets.
India is reportedly only the fourth country after the USA, UK and Germany to have its own standard on bulletproof jackets which provide 360 degrees protection. At present, India is exporting these jackets to over 100 nations, including several European nations.
BIS Deputy Director Rajesh Bajaj recently stated at an event that BIS brought all the stakeholders together and decided on a national standard, which is of international quality. The Indian armed forces are now producing as per this standard.
JK Gupta, a scientist associated with the team that formalised the national standard on bulletproof jackets, stated that earlier, India was unable to procure quality bulletproof jackets in the absence of a national standard. There was a long pending demand from the armed forces to set a national standard for the jackets. Finally, BIS had formulated a national standard on bulletproof jackets in 2018, following directions from the Prime Minister’s office and NITI Ayog, informed Gupta.
Dr Gupta further informed that under the Make In India program, India now has the facilities and world-class design capabilities on the jackets.
Gupta further informed that as of now, two PSUs, Medani and Ordnance Factory Avadi, near Chennai are producing these jackets and there are also three private firms, SNPP (Palwal), Starwire (Faridabad) and MKU in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh are manufacturing bulletproof jackets as per BIS norms.
More than 1.86 jackets have already been supplied to the Indian armed forces and the process is underway for more, he added. Gupta further stated that the BIS standard is tough and provides 360 degrees protection to soldiers, even from steel core AK-47 bullets travelling at 700 metres per second. The jackets are being manufactured keeping the various shapes and sizes of Indian soldiers in mind.
The BIS has also ascertained testing protocols to determine the shelf life of the jackets. NITI Ayog member and former DRDO chief VK Saraswat had informed earlier that Indian armed forces need more than 3 lakh bulletproof jackets.
It is notable here that India has been manufacturing bulletproof jackets since long but the manufacturers did not follow a specific standard and often the quality varied as per customer demands. The Indian armed forces also lacked bulletproof jackets till 2018.
In April 2018, ending a nine-year wait, the defence ministry under Nirmala Sitharaman had finally ordered over 1.86 lakh jackets for the armed forces, priced at Rs 639 crores. During the UPA rule in 2009, the MoD had given the nod for buying 1.86 lakh jackets but the proposal kept pending for various reasons. Finally, in 2016, the MoD had made an emergency procurement of 50,000 bulletproof vests.