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Amid border row, India allows military to speed up weapon purchases worth Rs 300 crore

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Amid the border row in Ladakh and worst tensions there since the 1962 India-China war, the government on Wednesday authorised the Armed Forces to process cases for buying urgently-needed weapons and equipment worth up to Rs 300 crore to meet their critical operational requirements, a defence ministry spokesperson said.

“This will shrink the procurement timelines and ensure placement of orders within six months and commencement of deliveries within one year,” the ministry said in a statement.

The decision was taken at a special meeting of the defence acquisition council (DAC), headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh. The ministry said the special meeting was convened “considering the security environment due to the prevailing situation along the northern borders and the need to strengthen the armed forces for the defence of our borders.”

The DAC on July 2 Thursday approved the purchase of weapons and ammunition worth Rs 38,900 crore. The purchases include 33 new fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF) that is grappling with a shortage of warplanes.

The proposals green-lighted by the DAC included buying of 21 MiG-29s from Russia, 12 new Sukhoi-30 fighters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), home-grown Astra BVR air-to-air missiles, locally-developed land-attack cruise missile (LACM) systems with a range of 1,000 km, indigenous rocket systems, and the upgrade of 59 MiG-29 jets.

The cost of military hardware cleared for purchase on July 2 from the domestic industry is pegged at Rs 31,130 crore and the orders are expected to give a push to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ (Self-Reliant India Movement).


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