New Delhi: The paramilitary forces for the first time set are to be equipped with high-tech, bulletproof, combat helmets. The new helmets will be able to withstand 7.62 mm and 9 mm bullets, even when fired from a distance of just 20 meters.
The 10-lakh strong paramilitary has a heavy burden of duties: defending the borders, ducking bullets from Maoists in steaming jungles or facing mobs of stone pelters like in Jammu and Kashmir. That requires a cool head and a light, tough helmet to protect it. Something more sophisticated than the 1.5-2 kg helmet or patka that these jawans are used to.
The paramilitary forces for the first time set are to be equipped with high-tech, bulletproof, combat helmets of the kind used by the US forces. Home minister Rajnath Singh has given approval to procure “light-weight bullet resistant helmets” which will not only protect against gun shots to the head, injuries from stone pelting and neck injuries, but will also increase the efficiency of the personnel. They are expected to ease the strain on jawans as these helmets can withstand 7.62 mm and 9 mm bullets, even when fired from a distance of just 20 meters.
The shape of the helmet will allow troops to mount handsets of communication equipment like walkie-talkies, or night vision cameras, torches and other devices. For long, the jawans have been sent on combat duties without this basic safety requirement.
The 3.5 lakh strong Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has just 2,000 bulletproof headgears. BSF, which has 2.5 lakh men, has been making do with 500 protective helmets for the ground troops while performing duties on the sensitive Indo-Pak and Indo-Bangladesh borders.
The government has admitted that there is a 98% shortage of bulletproof helmets in the paramilitary forces. Sources say Singh has discarded “financial” concerns voiced by bureaucrats. A senior government official told TOI on condition of anonymity that “there would be huge financial burden on the exchequer in this purchase but home minister has made it clear that security of jawans comes first”.