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Defence Acquisition Council clears over ₹84,000 crore proposals

Of the 24 capital acquisition proposals, six are for Indian Army, six for Indian Air Force, 10 for Indian Navy and two for Indian Coast Guard.

NEW DELHI: According to the defence ministry, India on Thursday approved defence projects worth 84,328 crore to upgrade its armed forces' combat capabilities with new military equipment, such as light tanks, futuristic infantry combat vehicles (FICVs), mounted gun systems, missiles, and bombs.

The defence ministry announced in a statement that the defence acquisition council (DAC), India's top procurement agency, had given 24 capital acquisition proposals for the three services and the Indian Coast Guard its acceptance of need (AoN). Of them, 21 plans totaling 82,127 crore are related to future purchases from domestic suppliers, which is viewed as a boost for the nation's effort for self-reliance.

Six are for the Indian Army, six are for the Indian Air Force, ten are for the Indian Navy, and two are for the Indian Coast Guard out of the 24 capital purchase plans.

According to the ministry, "this initiative of DAC would not only modernise the armed forces but will also provide the defence industry a significant boost to realise the goal of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India)."

Among the important suggestions approved by the DAC, led by the defence minister Rajnath Singh, are light tanks and FICVs. AoN by the council is the initial step in the military equipment purchase process in India. In light of the ongoing 30-month standoff with the Chinese army along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, the army has been pursuing the construction of light tanks for mountain combat and FICVs.

The light tank is a crucial tool the army needs to combat the ongoing danger along the LAC. The upcoming tank has already been given the name "Zorawar" in honour of famous Zorawar Singh, a general of Dogra monarch Gulab Singh. The military anticipates three years for the creation and testing of the light tank prototype. Advanced situational awareness, active protection systems, and drone integration are just a few of the cutting-edge technology it will be equipped with.

According to the government, "The AoNs given would outfit the Indian Army with platforms and equipment including FICVs, light tanks, and mounted gun systems providing a quantum boost to its operational preparedness."

In addition to night-fighting gear, anti-drone weapons, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) systems, the FICV is one of the primary indigenous assets that the mechanised infantry is targeting. These qualities will make the mechanised infantry a more deadly, agile, and cohesive force that can give an immediate and powerful response in combat.

Several projects for the air force and navy were also approved.

The introduction of a new missile system, long-range guided bombs, and cutting-edge surveillance equipment will further boost the Indian Air Force and provide it "increased lethal capabilities," the ministry stated.

New anti-ship missiles, multipurpose warships, and high endurance autonomous vehicles are among the navy hardware that has been approved and "will significantly improve maritime strength," according to the statement.

One of the primary priorities for the government is the indigenous development of military equipment.

In order to support domestic defence manufacture, India banned the import of 411 different weapons and systems over the past two years. Over the course of the next five to six years, these weapons and platforms are anticipated to undergo phased indigenization.

Additionally, 68% of the military's capital procurement budget for 2022–2023, or 84,598 crore, has been set aside by the government for the purchase of domestically made weapons and equipment. The Center had allocated 64% (or 70,221 crore) of the military's capital budget for the domestic sector in 2021–2022, and 58% (or 51,000 crore) of the capital budget in 2020–2021. The allocation for local defence procurement has increased significantly over the last three years.

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Edited by: Satyavrat Singh

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