DEFENCE, INTERNAL-EXTERNAL SECURITY AFFAIRS

Meet Lt Col Prasad Bansod, Man behind India’s First Indigenously Developed 9mm Machine Pistol

Meet Lt Col Prasad Bansod, Man behind India’s First Indigenously Developed 9mm Machine Pistol

The journey to creating the ASMI was not without its challenges. As an officer with an arts background, Lt Col Bansod faced skepticism and doubts from those who questioned his ability to design a cutting-edge weapon.

In a remarkable feat of indigenous innovation, a young Indian Army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Prasad Bansod, has emerged as the driving force behind the design and development of India’s first-ever 9mm machine pistol – the ASMI.

Lt Col Prasad Bansod

Widely hailed as India’s very own “Colonel Kalashnikov,” Lt Col Bansod’s groundbreaking accomplishment stands as a testament to the nation’s growing self-reliance and technological prowess in the defense domain.

The Birth of ASMI

The origins of the ASMI can be traced back to Lt Col Bansod’s keen observations during his tenure on various evaluation and procurement committees in 2018. As he delved into the Indian Armed Forces’ equipment needs, he was struck by the alarming reality that the country was heavily dependent on foreign-made weapons and ammunition, often procured at exorbitant prices. This realization sparked a fire within him, driving him to embark on a mission to develop an indigenous solution that would not only address the Armed Forces’ requirements but also instill a sense of national pride.

Lt Col Prasad Bansod

Embracing the Challenge

With an arts education as his background, Lt Col Bansod’s path to becoming a renowned weapons designer was anything but conventional. However, his wealth of operational experience in the Indian Army and an unwavering determination to succeed fueled his pursuit of this ambitious goal. Undaunted by the seemingly insurmountable challenge, he set out to design and develop a world-class machine pistol that would be a true reflection of India’s engineering prowess.

ASMI

The Meaning Behind the Name

The name “ASMI,” chosen for the weapon, is a testament to the deep-rooted significance it holds for the nation. Derived from the Sanskrit word “Asmita,” meaning “pride, self-respect, and hard work,” the name encapsulates the very essence of the project. Lt Col Bansod explains, “ASMI depicts our national pride and truly reflects the pride and hard work that we have put into it to make it a world-class system.”

Lt Col Prasad Bansod

Overcoming Challenges

The journey to creating the ASMI was not without its challenges. As an officer with an arts background, Lt Col Bansod faced skepticism and doubts from those who questioned his ability to design a cutting-edge weapon. However, his unwavering commitment, coupled with the support of the Indian Army and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), proved to be the driving force behind the project’s success.

Lt Col Prasad Bansod

Harnessing Synergies

The collaborative effort between the Indian Army and the DRDO played a crucial role in the ASMI’s development. Lt Col Bansod credits the Army and the DRDO for making the gun a reality, highlighting the importance of such synergies in fostering indigenous innovations. Within just 53 days, the team was able to deliver a perfectly working design, showcasing the power of unified efforts and a shared vision.

Lt Col Prasad Bansod

Lessons from Geopolitical Conflicts

The ongoing geopolitical tensions and military conflicts around the world have underscored the importance of self-reliance in military hardware. Lt Col Bansod emphasizes that the recent conflicts, such as the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the Israel-Hamas war, have provided valuable lessons on the dangers of being import-dependent for critical military equipment. He firmly believes that the ASMI’s development is a testament to India’s commitment to reducing its reliance on foreign-made weapons and ammunition.

A Game-Changing Weapon

The ASMI, a fearsome machine pistol weighing less than 2 kilograms, operates on a simple blowback principle and can fire at a rate of 600 rounds per minute, with an effective range of 100 meters. Its impressive performance and capabilities have already garnered the attention of various Indian security agencies, including the National Security Guard (NSG) and state police forces, who have placed orders for the weapon.

Revolutionizing the Domestic Market

The ASMI’s potential impact extends beyond the Armed Forces, as it is expected to disrupt the domestic security equipment market. With a projected cost of under Rs 50,000 per unit, the machine pistol is poised to become a game-changer, catering not only to the Central Police Organizations but also to the various state police services across the country.

Global Export Opportunities

The ASMI’s impressive capabilities and cost-effectiveness also make it an attractive option for potential export markets, particularly in the South East Asian region and beyond. As India continues to strengthen its defense manufacturing capabilities, the ASMI’s success could pave the way for further export opportunities, showcasing the nation’s ability to produce world-class military hardware.

Lt Col Prasad Bansod

A Paradigm Shift in the Indian Army

The introduction of the ASMI and the success of Lt Col Bansod’s endeavor represent a significant paradigm shift within the Indian Army’s approach to human resource management and talent retention.

Retaining Domain Specialists

The Indian Army’s new Human Resources (HR) policy, which came into effect on January 1, 2024, aims to retain domain specialists within its ranks, allowing officers like Lt Col Bansod to continue working in their specialized fields even after reaching higher ranks. This policy deviates from the traditional promotion norms, which often required officers to transition to command or administrative roles, potentially sidelining their specialized skills and expertise.

Promoting Innovation and Excellence

By empowering officers to pursue their specialized domains, the new HR policy fosters an environment that encourages innovation and excellence. The success of the ASMI project under Lt Col Bansod’s leadership serves as a prime example of the benefits of this approach, demonstrating the Army’s commitment to nurturing its most valuable asset – its personnel.

Ensuring Operational Readiness

The premature departure of officers from specialized roles had previously resulted in a void that adversely impacted the Indian Army’s overall operational needs. The new HR policy aims to address this challenge by retaining the critical expertise required to enhance the Army’s capabilities and maintain its operational readiness in the face of evolving security threats.

Lt Col Prasad Bansod

A Shining Example of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”

The ASMI’s development under Lt Col Bansod’s leadership stands as a shining example of the “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (Self-Reliant India) initiative, which aims to reduce India’s dependence on foreign-made products and bolster its indigenous manufacturing capabilities.

Fostering a Culture of Innovation

The ASMI’s success story serves as a powerful inspiration, showcasing that with the right mindset, determination, and institutional support, India can indeed produce world-class military equipment. This achievement has the potential to ignite a flame of innovation and self-belief within the country, empowering individuals and organizations to pursue their own ambitious goals.

Strengthening National Security

By reducing its reliance on imported weapons and ammunition, India can enhance its national security and strategic autonomy. The ASMI’s development is a testament to the country’s growing technological prowess and its ability to address its defense needs through indigenous solutions, a crucial step towards achieving true self-reliance.

A Beacon of Inspiration

The story of Lt Col Prasad Bansod, the “Colonel Kalashnikov” of India, has the power to inspire generations of young Indians to pursue their dreams and contribute to the nation’s progress. His journey from an arts background to becoming a renowned weapons designer serves as a powerful reminder that with unwavering determination and a spirit of innovation, anything is possible.

The ASMI’s development under the leadership of Lt Col Prasad Bansod represents a watershed moment in India’s defense landscape. This groundbreaking achievement not only showcases the country’s technological capabilities but also underscores the importance of nurturing specialized talent and fostering a culture of innovation within the armed forces.

As the Indian Army continues to adapt to evolving security challenges, initiatives like the ASMI project and the new HR policy will play a crucial role in enhancing the nation’s operational readiness and strengthening its position on the global stage. The success of Lt Col Bansod’s endeavor serves as a beacon of inspiration, igniting a sense of national pride and a renewed commitment to the vision of an “Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

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