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Three decades after the Bofors kickback controversy, India gets first howitzer artillery guns

Three decades after the Bofors kickback controversy that thawed the pursuit to acquire howitzers, the Indian army on Thursday received the first two guns out of the 145 M777 ultra light artillery guns from the US, media reports said.

The two 155mm/39 caliber ultra light howitzers will be firing at the Pokhran field firing range in Rajasthan.

This is the first acquisition of howitzers after the Bofors scandal broke out over the allegations of kickbacks in the deal that had a serious impact on Indian politics.

The 145 M 777 purchase deal involves an expenditure of 700 million dollars.

According to reports, the deal is part of the Indian army's plans to upgrade its artillery formations which envisages acquisition of different typs of artillery guns at the cost of Rs. 22,000 crore.

The guns, which can be carried underslung by heavy lift helicopters will give the army tremendous flexibility especially in the high altitude border areas with China.