Navy to acquire sniper rifles to tackle pirate threat

"Pirates have now been spotted operating near Lakshadweep islands also. We are planning to acquire sniper rifles, which would also be used by sailors on ships to take on these pirates," Navy officials said here.

The Navy has already started the process by issuing a global Request for Information (RFI) which says that the weapons should have "long range" and would be used in a "predominant maritime environment".

Navy has deployed its ships in the Gulf of Aden since December 2008 and has also increased its presence in the central Arabian Sea to deter the pirates from increasing their influence in the region.

In some of the anti-piracy operations, Navy's elite MARCOS have also taken part. To upgrade the capabilities of its elite commandos, the Navy has made several acquisitions including over 1,000 Israeli Tavor Assault Rifles (TAR) 21 and 30 Galil Sniper rifles.
The Tavor is a close-quarter combat 5.56mm rifle and will replace the AK-104 and the INSAS rifles used by the MARCOS.

The rifle is already in use by the Special Forces of the Indian Army, which inducted over 3,000 of them a few years ago and have been successfully used in counter-insurgency operations in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.

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