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India’s Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday approved arms purchases worth 13,700 crore as the government continues steps to modernize the military.

“All these acquisition proposals will be indigenously designed, developed and manufactured. These will include inter-alia platforms and systems designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)," according to a government statement.

A person familiar with the development said the approvals included the acquisition of 118 Arjun Mk-1A main battle tanks for the Indian Army worth more than 8,000 crore. The tank has been developed by the DRDO.

Meanwhile, the defence ministry separately placed an order worth 177.95 crore with Bharat Forge Ltd for the supply of Kalyani M4 armoured personnel carriers, the Pune-based company said in a statement. The size of the order was not disclosed. Bharat Forge on Monday also signed a pact with South African aerospace and technology firm Paramount Group to build armoured vehicles in India.

“To meet the Atmanirbhar Bharat goals of the Government on time-bound defence procurement process and faster decision making and to systematically work towards reducing the time taken for capital acquisition, the DAC also approved that all capital acquisition contracts (delegated and non-delegated) …. shall be concluded in two years," the defence ministry said in its statement.

This comes a day after defence minister Singh told an industry meeting that the government has earmarked about 70,000 crore of the capital allocation of 1.35 trillion for the defence sector for local procurement.

He said the government will issue a new list of military hardware that won’t be imported. The current list contains 101 items. Speaking at the same event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured industry that military hardware that can be designed and developed locally won’t be imported.

The announcements were aimed at encouraging the domestic industry to develop new weapons as part of New Delhi’s goal to reduce dependence on imports and further cement India’s reputation as a defence manufacturer.

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