Earlier this year i posted that Indian Army has rejected Excalibur stating that it is good enough when it comes to reliability but it is not LETHAL ENOUGH because it uses 5.56 mm ammunition which army feels is not lethal enough for today's scenario. Ironically during development of insas started army specifically stated that it needed a 5.56 mm caliber rifle because it wanted to injure the enemy soldier (one soldier injured directly removes 2 to 4 more soldiers which aid him), this caused issues as at that time IA used 7.62 round rifles and 5.56 production in India was very very less which caused India to import that ammo in large numbers and also delayed induction of Insas.
Earlier this year ARMY DUMPED EXCALIBUR RIFLE SAYING IT NEEDS MORE LETHAL WEAPON because in today's scenario army has to regularly engage in Counter Terrorism CT operations where the army to army war doctrine doesn't work as terrorist leave their partners to fight till death instead of aiding him.
In that post I even asked "Why not Excalibur?" and also explained that while it maybe true that CT operations are different but i also explained that today most of the forces in world prefer 5.56 mm guns and the use of 7.62mm ammunition is very rare in standard issue rifles, also the guns which are being used by special forces are also 5.56 mm guns and they have no issues like that, opposite to that many forces which frequently are engaged in CT operations have chosen Tavor a 5.56 mm gun over ak-47 7.62 mm which is ofcourse more lethal but it has certain issues.
I even suggested that even though army wants a bigger caliber gun but for the time being it should do the user trials of Excalibur and should induct it as a plug stop measure till they find a suitable rifle. This is better than manufacturing or repairing the insas in service (esp older versions of insas like 1b and even starting 1b1's) because whatever maybe but still Excalibur is better than Insas.
Well now it looks like after years of negligence and running away from Excalibur army is finally coming back towards it as according to sources army wants to induct Excalibur for the time being till they find a suitable rifle (or atleast make out what they really need it to do). To speed up testing and trials army is considering to order a big batch of EXCALIBUR and test the batches simultaneously in different locations so that the results can be obtained earlier and so that production of Excalibur can start as soon as possible.
The actual problem is not from one side DRDO or ARMY but is the lack of clarity and communication between army and drdo, if we look into the indigenous products which army asked for one thing can be easily noticed that is The Change Initial & Final Requirements which army quoted, army has a habit of changing the requirements again and again during production of any equipment be it tejas,arjun ,insas or anyother product.
Another problem is maintaining the quality which army desires and this problem arises because of OFB which has absolutely no quality control and DGQA (DIRECTOR GENERAL FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE) which is a dept which has to ensure that equipments with satisfactory quality only make it to the army. The issues both have had in past has caused delays in production many times.
CONCLUSION- In my opinion army should not reject the indigenous products without even testing them properly and that representatives of both DRDO & ARMY need to sit down properly before starting the development of any weapon and decide the requirements so that a clear understanding can be established between both.
Also like army did for Dhanush Howitzer it should also do the same for other projects and stick with the product throughout the development of product and keep providing the feedback which will ensure that our soldiers get the best equipments.
Personally I welcome army's step of opting for Excalibur and hope that it replaces the INSAS (esp old ones which had issues) soon because its not our brave soldiers who are actually standing in borders who complain about the equipment, our army is so brave & capable that even if we just give them knives and ask them to fight any aggressor, THEY WILL fight and not only fight THEY WILL WIN.