In a major decision, the Defence Ministry today approved capital acquisition proposals worth Rs 15,935 crore which included purchase of 7.40 lakh assault rifles, 5,719 sniper rifles and light machine guns to bolster the strength of the armed forces.The long-pending proposals were cleared at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the defence ministry’s highest decision-making body on procurement.The approval to the proposals come amid increasing hostilities by Pakistan along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir as well as China’s aggressive posturing in several sectors along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border.The defence ministry said the DAC chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman cleared capital acquisition proposals which were valued at Rs 15,935 crore.It said the DAC accorded approval for procurement of 7.4 lakh assault rifles for the three services at an estimated cost of Rs 12,280 crore.The rifles will be produced in in India under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ category through both state-run Ordnance Factory Board and private sector.In a statement, the ministry said “essential quantity” of Light Machine Guns (LMGs) will be through the “fast track” route at an estimated cost of over Rs 1,819 crore, primarily to meet the operational requirement of the troops deployed on the borders.”A concurrent proposal is being processed for the balance quantity to be procured under the ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ categorisation,” the ministry said.In the last one month, the DAC has fast tracked procurement of rifles, carbines and LMGs to equip the soldiers on the border with modern and more effective equipment.The DAC also approved procurement of 5,719 sniper rifles for the Indian Army and Indian Air Force at an estimated cost of Rs 982 crore, the ministry said.The sniper rifles will be bought under the ‘Buy Global’ category, the ammunition for these weapons will be initially procured and subsequently manufactured in India.The ministry said to enhance the anti-submarine warfare capabilities of Indian Navy, the DAC also approved the procurement of Advanced Torpedo Decoy Systems (ATDS) for the Indian Navy at a cost of Rs 850 crore.The ‘Mareech’ system has been developed indigenously by Defence Research and Development Organisation and has successfully completed extensive trial evaluations.”The ‘Mareech’ systems will be produced by Bharat Electronics Limited, Bengaluru at an estimated cost of Rs 850 crore,” the ministry said.
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