Amid ongoing border tensions with China, the defence ministry on Monday approved arms procurement worth Rs 2,290 crore including 72,000 Sig Sauer assault rifles for its troops from the United States, according to an official statement. The procurement proposals were approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the defence ministry's highest decision making body on procurement, under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
"The Defence Acquisition Council meeting held under the Chairmanship of Raksha Mantri Rajnath today approved proposals for capital acquisitions of various equipment required by the Indian Armed Forces at an approximate cost of Rs 2,290 crore," Ministry of Defence said in a press statement.
The ministry said that the procurement will be made from domestic industry as well as foreign vendors.
Under the buy Indian (IDDM) category, the DAC approved procurement of Static HF Tans-receiver sets and Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW) at a cost of around Rs 1,510 crore. The HF radio sets will be procured at an approximate cost of Rs 540 crore, which will enable seamless communication between field units of Army and Air Force. The Smart Anti Airfield Weapon will cost around Rs 970 crore, which will add to the fire power of Navy and Air Force.
Further, to equip the frontline troops of the army, the DAC also accorded approval for procurement of Sig Sauer assault rifles at a cost of around Rs 780 crore. This fresh proposal follows an order for 72,400 assault rifles placed with the US in early 2019, as part of infantry modernisation.
The government has accorded priority to the modernisation of the armed forces and the infantry modernisation has been initiated as part of the larger process to further enhance combat capability of the Army.
The world's second largest standing army has been pushing for fast-tracking the procurement of various weapons systems considering the evolving security challenges along India's borders with Pakistan and China. Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last few months. The tension escalated manifold after a violent clash in Galwan Valley in June in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed.
In a separate development, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today unveiled the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) - 2020 in New Delhi, in line with the Atma Nirbhar Bharat vision and empowering Indian domestic industry through Make in India initiative with the ultimate aim of turning India into a global manufacturing hub. DAP 2020, which will be applicable from October 1, 2020, incorporated several measures to boost domestic defence industry and Make in India. It has also simplified procedure to reduce time delays and enhance ease of doing business.
By Chitranjan Kumar