The defence ministry on Tuesday approved the procurement of military equipment and weapons worth Rs 28,000 crore, including swarm drones and close-quarter battle carbines, to bolster the overall combat prowess of the armed forces along the northern and western borders. The procurement proposals were cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
“The Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisition proposals of the armed forces amounting to Rs 28,732 crore were accorded by the DAC," the defence ministry said in a statement. The approval to the new procurement proposals came amid India’s lingering border row with China in eastern Ladakh.
The ministry said the approval to procure four lakh close-quarter battle carbines was granted to combat the “current complex paradigm of conventional and hybrid warfare" and terrorism at the borders. “To combat the current complex paradigm of conventional and hybrid warfare and counter-terrorism at the borders, AoN for induction of approx. 4 lakh of close quarter battle carbines for the services have also been accorded by the DAC," it said.
The ministry said the decision is set to provide a major impetus to the small arms manufacturing industry in the country and enhance “Atmanirbharta" (self-reliance) in small arms. “Considering the demand for enhanced protection against the threat of enemy snipers to our troops deployed along the Line of Control, and in close combat operations in counter-terrorism scenario, the DAC accorded AoN for bulletproof jackets with Indian Standard BIS VI level of protection," it said.
On the procurement of the armed swarm drones, the ministry said these are being acquired as drone technology has proved to be a force multiplier in military operations. “In the recent conflicts across the world, drone technology proved to be a force multiplier in military operations. Accordingly, to augment the Indian Army’s capability in modern warfare, AoN for procurement of autonomous surveillance and armed drone swarms has been accorded by the DAC under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category," it said.
The DAC has also approved the Navy’s proposal to procure an upgraded 1,250-KW capacity marine gas turbine generator for power generation application onboard the Kolkata class of ships through the Indian industry. “This will give a major boost to the indigenous manufacturing of gas turbine generators," the ministry said.
It also cleared a proposal to procure 14 fast patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard. “In order to enhance the security in the coastal region of our Country, DAC also approved the proposal of procurement of 14 Fast Patrol Vessels (FPVs) for the Indian Coast Guard under the Buy (Indian-IDDM) with 60 per cent indigenous content," the ministry said.