A defence company under the SSS Group, SSS Defence, has won the contract to supply the Nepali Army with its 5.56x45mm rounds. The Bengaluru-based private firm has a joint venture with CBC Defence for this initiative which is being done through the government-to-government contract mechanism, according to a report by The Print.

SSS Defence was established in 2017 under the SSS Group, which was founded in Bengaluru in 1960 as a spring-manufacturing company. In a joint venture with CBC Defence in 2019, SSS Defence began producing ammunition in India, with operations beginning in 2021.

The Bengaluru company fended off heavy Chinese competition and will now enhance the Nepal Army’s small arms firepower. Nepal uses Korean and US-supplied Colt M4 carbines and M16 rifles, as well as various North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) rifles.

These American and NATO weapons as well as a whole host of Belgian, British, Italian and Israeli ones will be compatible with SSS Defence’s 5.56x45mm ammunition. The Indian Army employs various weapons with this calibre, two of which are Israeli Weapons Industry’s TAR 21 and the Colt M4.

These weapons replaced India’s Ordinance Factories Board’s Indian Small Arms System (INSAS) rifle which has been heavily criticised in 2005 following a deadly Maoist encounter in 2005. The Nepali Army spokesperson said that 43 soldiers would not have been killed if they had better rifles than the INSAS.

Ever since then, China has taken advantage of the lack orders for Indian weapons in Nepal. But now that India has a toe-hold in Nepal’s defence acquisition sector, the Indian government should encourage its defence companies to target the Himalayan state as a viable export option. This will also encourage the Indian Armed Forces to consider indigenous weapons and ammunition.

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