Following in the footsteps of the US Armed Forces, the Indian Army soldiers will soon be armed with laser guns to help take on militants without even firing a single shot.
The Laser Science and Technology Centre (LASTEC), a DRDO laboratory, has developed 'Laser Dazzler' -- a non-lethal gun -- for the armed forces to be used during counter-insurgency and anti-terrorist operations.
"The laser gun is a non-lethal anti-personnel weapon, which could be used to disorient or dazzle an armed soldier or a terrorist without causing any collateral damage in the process," LASTEC's Associate Director A K Maini said.
He said the gun would flash a laser beam, which could virtually "blind" the terrorist or anti-social element for around 40 seconds - time good enough for the troops to nab the culprit.
The flash beam of the gun is two to three metres wide, which would provide better chances to the forces in disorienting the target.
"The gun can be used effectively in counter-insurgency operations and close combat battles by the defence and paramilitary forces," Maini said.
The DRDO-developed gun would be used for trials by the Army in counter-insurgency operations in the next five to six months. It would be tested in "real combat" situations in both Jammu and Kashmir and North Eastern states.
The laser guns are also fully compliant with the UN conventions, which prohibit the use of laser guns that cause permanent blindness.
"Laser guns causing permanent blindness are banned under a 1995 UN Convention called the Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons. But the DRDO gun does not have any such effects on the target. The eyes come back to normal level as soon as the dazzling effect of the flash is over," Maini said.
The LASTEC had successfully tested the effectiveness of the guns in laboratory conditions.
"The first batch of Laser Dazzlers was produced in Panchkula near Chandigarh. The guns would be coming back to us for technical clearances before we send them to the Army for user trials," Maini said.
The DRDO is also hoping to offer the laser gun to other paramilitary, central and state police forces after the Army carried out its trials.
"Other paramilitary, central and state police forces also have to carry out operations against militants in conditions similar to the Army's counter-insurgency operations, particularly in anti-Maoist operations," he said.
The use of non-lethal laser guns to dazzle anti-social elements has been on for a number of years now in the US. But this would be first time in India that the laser technology would be directly used on human targets.