New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) There is a shortage of equipment for Indian troops on UN peacekeeping missions in Congo and South Sudan, the government said today, citing remote and under-developed terrain in the central African countries as one of the reasons for it.

Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, Subhash Bhamre, minister of state in the defence ministry, in a written response said the shortfall is also due to involvement of multiple inter-continental agencies and governments and frequent changes in the memorandum of understanding by the United Nations.

“Remote and under-developed terrain in mission areas lends little availability of local resources for quick mission area procurement,” Bhamre said.

In response to another question, Bhamre said the proposal related to the co-production of state-of-the-art small arms at Rifle Factory, Ishapore, West Bengal, had been pending as it was found to be “deficient” in terms of procedure.

In October last year, the original equipment manufacturer M/S Grand Power, Slovakia, had written to the defence ministry asking it what was the incorrect procedure, due to which the proposal of pact between it and the OFB was returned.

Bhamre said in September 2016, the Department of Defence Production had directed the Ordnance Factory Board to formulate a Standard Operating Procedure for selection of technological partners.

“The proposal for signing MoU with M/S Grand Power, Slovakia, for co-production of small arms was deliberated by the OFB in their second board meeting held on February 28 last year and was subsequently forwarded for approval of the DPP in March 2017,” he said.

“The OFB forwarded the revised SOP in February 2018. This month, the DPP has approved the SOP,” he added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.