Army Chief’s Gulf Visit: Caracal CQB Deal and deepening military ties to be the focus

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Updated: Dec 07, 2020 12:42 PM

The army chief in his first-ever visit to the Kingdom would address Saudi Arabia’s National Defence University too.

Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane, Naravvane UAE visit, India-UAE diplomatic relationship, Indo-Russian BrahMos missile, Caracal DealMM Naravane will be meeting his UAE counterpart as well as other top military brass (IE Image)

The Indian Army chief Gen MM Naravane on Monday (December 7, 2020) reaches the Gulf Region and the focus of his visit is on deepening of military ties between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. His first stop is Saudi Arabia, where during his two-day visit he will be meeting his counterpart as well as other top military brass as well as other senior officers. From there the Indian Army Chief will leave for the UAE on a two day visit.

As has been reported by Financial Express Online, the army chief in his first-ever visit to the Kingdom would address Saudi Arabia’s National Defence University too.

Deepening Military Engagement

India and Saudi Arabia in 2019 has inked a Memorandum of Understanding for joint collaboration of defence industries. Saudi Arabia is looking to grow its defence industry which is in nascent stages.

The two sides are also seeking deeper engagement in maritime security, and more joint bilateral military exercises.

Both Gulf countries are also keen on buying the Indo-Russian BrahMos Missile, as well as other indigenously developed and designed missiles from India.

In the UAE, besides his meeting with his counterparts and other military brass. Though the official agenda has not been shared, sources have indicated that the UAE based Caracal Company will raise the issue of reconsidering its deal for selling 93,895 Close Quarter Carbines with the Indian Army Chief.

Caracal Deal

During the recently concluded visit of external affairs minister S Jaishankar, the issue was raised by the UAE side.

As has been reported by Financial Express Online earlier, the UAE based company was shortlisted almost two years ago and the CQBs were to be procured through the Fast Track Procurement (FTP) route. However, as reported earlier, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had taken in-principle decision to cancel the deal and to take the domestic route for procuring the CQB. The UAE Company has been in touch with the Indian Mission as well as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to reconsider its decision.

Is there a procedure to go back on what has been decided?

“Though no formal announcement has been made, it will probably be an unprecedented procedural novelty to restart a procurement proposal from the stage at which the Request for Proposal is retracted after the final decision is taken to do so,” explained a senior officer on condition of anonymity.

Why?

The case goes to square one. But it does not prevent the vendors unless someone is barred by the MoD, to make a pitch for being considered as a potential supplier on a single vendor basis or through an inter-governmental agreement if it’s a foreign vendor.

Background

The UAE based company after clearing all trials and procedural requirements was supposed to supply 93,895 carbines to the Indian Army. This deal was in the works since 2018.

The UAE based company has been pitching aggressively through the media and had issued a statement earlier expressing its commitment to the `Make in India’ initiative. It had stated that the company has already identified the local partners, land and facility and start the local production immediately.

It had also mentioned in the statement shared with the media that more than 20 per cent of the components fitted on the CAR 816 are already made in India and has offered to transfer of technology for manufacturing them here.

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