New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday approved the purchase of weapons worth about Rs 15,931 crore for the armed forces to help them deal with security challenges along the nation’s disputed borders.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council, which approved the “Capital Acquisition Proposals” of the army, air force and navy.
The shopping list cleared by DAC includes light machine guns (LMGs), assault rifles, sniper rifles and advanced torpedo decoy systems.
The DAC approved the large-scale purchase of weapons at a time when the armed forces are facing security challenges along India’s disputed borders with Pakistan and China.
The procurement of “essential quantity” of LMGs through the Fast Track Procedure was approved at an estimated cost of over Rs 1,819 crore.
“This procurement will meet the operational requirement of the troops deployed on the borders. A concurrent proposal is being processed for the balance quantity to be procured under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ categorisation,” the Ministry of Defence (MoD) stated.
The DAC approved procurement of 7.4 lakh assault rifles. These rifles will be ‘Made in India’ under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ category, through the Ordnance Factory Board and Private Industry at an estimated cost of Rs 12,280 crore.
“In the last one month, to equip the soldiers on the border with modern and more effective equipment, the DAC has fast-tracked procurement of the three main personal weapons â€“ rifles, carbines and LMGs,” the MoD stated.
The DAC also gave its nod to the procurement of 5,719 sniper rifles for the army and the air force at an estimated cost of Rs 982 crore.
The MoD officials said that high precision weapons would be bought with ‘Buy Global’ categorisation, while the ammunition for them would be initially procured and subsequently manufactured in India.
To enhance the anti-submarine warfare capabilities of the Navy’s warships, the DAC approved procurement of ‘Mareech’ Advanced Torpedo Decoy Systems (ATDS).
The ‘Mareech’ ATDS has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation and has successfully completed extensive trial evaluations.
The ‘Mareech’ systems will be produced by Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), Bengaluru, at an estimated cost of Rs 850 crore.
The approvals for fast-track procurement of weapons came just after the deadly terror attacks on a military camp at Sunjuwan in Jammu and near a paramilitary camp at Karan Nagar in Kashmir.
The attacks were carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba, both based in Pakistan.
Apart from dealing with terrorism and infiltration attempts, the army is also retaliating against repeated violation of ceasefire by the soldiers and border guards of Pakistan along the Line of Control in Jammu & Kashmir.
The 72-day long face-off between the Indian Army and China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Doklam Plateau in western Bhutan from June 18 to August 28 brought to focus the protracted boundary dispute between the two nations.
The reports about fresh build-up by the PLA near the scene of the face-off as well as construction attempts and transgressions by the neighbouring country’s soldiers elsewhere along the Line of Actual Control underlined the need for the army to be on its toes.