With just a month left before the commercial bid expires, India is yet to clear legal hurdles for signing of the final contract for procurement of carbines from the Israel Weapon Industries.
The Law Ministry’s opinion was sought by the Defense Ministry as only one firm, the IWI, passed the trials conducted by the Indian Army. Four other global firms including Italy’s Beretta had participated in the bid but failed to meet the tough specifications laid down by the Indian Army. This led to a ‘single vendor situation’ which attracted the attention of competitors who suspected foul play.
The original request was sent to 28 global companies out of which five responded. But, due to tough specifications laid down by the Indian Army, the final competition was left between Israeli Weapon Industry (IWI) and Italian Beretta. However, Beretta was disqualified in army trials for carbines leaving IWI as the only firm that passed the test resulting in a single vendor situation.
Carbines are rifles with short-range barrels and suitable for close quarter combat. The Indian Army’s requirement is that of a gun with an integrated sight and laser designator.
The trials were completed way back in 2014 but due to the single vendor situation, the Ministry of Defense is not going ahead with signing the deal with the Israeli firm. Frustrated by this delay, IWI has threatened that it may have to rethink its investments in India.