Days after the ghastly terror attack on Jammu’s Sunjuwan Army camp, the Ministry of Defence on Tuesday gave its go-ahead to a slew of acquisition proposals collectively worth Rs 15,935 crore, with the Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, according its approval to Capital Acquisition Proposals (CAP) for the same. In a shot in the arm to security forces who have been long demanding modern personal weapons for troops deployed along the border, the ministry also fast-tracked the purchase of sniper rifles and Light Machine Guns (LMGs) on a fast-track basis.
Among the proposals that have received the go-ahead from the DAC are purchase of 16,500 Light Machine Guns (LMGs) at an estimated cost of Rs 1,819 crore, 5.719 sniper rifles at an estimated cost of Rs 982 crore from the global market, 7.4 lakh Assault Rifles at an estimated cost of Rs 12,280 crore and procurement of Advanced Torpedo Decoy Systems (ATDS) for the Indian Navy.
While the procurement of “essential quantity” of LMGs will meet the troops’ operational requirement on the borders, the proposal for balance quantity of LMGs will be undertaken under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ categorisation, a Defence Ministry statement read. The Sniper Rifles for the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force, on the other hand, will be bought with ‘Buy Global’ categorisation, the ammunition for these will be initially procured and subsequently manufactured in India, the statement added. The 7.4 lakh Assault Rifles will be ‘Made in India’ under the categorisation of ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’, through both Ordnance Factory Board and Private Industry, it said.
The DAC’s approval on Tuesday now puts procurement of the three main personal weapons for soldiers, i.e., Rifles, Carbines and LMGs on fast-track, after clearing the procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines worth Rs 3,547 on fast-track for the defence forces to meet their immediate requirement for troops deployed on the borders.
Additionally, the DAC also approved the procurement of Advanced Torpedo Decoy Systems (ATDS) for the Indian Navy in an attempt to enhance the anti-submarine warfare capabilities of Indian warships. The ‘Mareech’ system, developed indigenously by the DRDO and has completed trial evaluations successfully, will be produced by Bharat Electronics Limited, Bengaluru at an estimated cost of Rs 850 crore.