New Delhi: In an effort to equip Indian defence personnel with modern weaponry, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) on Wednesday cleared the purchase of hardware worth Rs9,435 crore.
The move also provided a boost to the Make in India initiative of the Narendra Modi government with a sizeable 75% of the 41,000 LMGs (light machine guns) and over 3.5 lakh Close Quarter Battle Carbines being procured under the “buy and make category", a defence ministry statement said.
“These weapons are an essential component of a soldier’s fighting equipment and will provide a major fillip to the fighting capability of the troops," the statement said.
“Out of total quantities envisaged, 75 % will be through Indian industry under “buy and make" category and balance through OFB (defence ministry-administered Ordnance Factory Board)," the statement said.
The total cost for procurement of carbines and LMGs for the soldiers is Rs4,607 crore and Rs3,000 crore respectively, it said.
Explaining the rationale behind the new acquisitions, the statement said that the “the vintage of personal weapons, assault rifles carbines and LMGs being operated by the troops of the three services, especially by soldiers positioned on the borders and in areas affected by militancy has been a cause of concern for over a decade."
“The government has been conscious of the requirement to modernize basic fighting weapons for the soldiers and has therefore accorded utmost priority to these cases. With the approval of these two proposals, the government has cleared procurement of the entire range of personal weapons for the three services. Of these, immediate operational requirement for the soldiers deployed on the borders will be procured through Fast Track Procurement and for the balance production lines will be set up in India," it added.
The DAC, chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also approved the procurement of High Capacity Radio Relay for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force at an estimated cost of over Rs1,092 crore, the statement said.
The DAC also cleared the acquisition of two Pollution Control Vessels (PCV) for the Indian Coast Guard to enhance the force’s capacity to tackle pollution.
“These would be built by Indian shipyards at an approximate cost of Rs673 crore," it added.
In all, the DAC has cleared acquisitions and procurements worth approximately Rs28,000 crore in February.