The Indian Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared purchase of defence equipment worth Rs. 30,000 crore, which will help replacing the army’s vintage anti-aircraft guns.
The council, which is headed by Defence Minister Manohar Parriker, had met on Tuesday evening ahead of the decision.
Although the new guns will have to be bought from Indian companies, no Indian firm has so far been able to demonstrate the capacity to manufacture these guns. The army is likely to get 428 new guns and the cost to the exchequer will be Rs. 16,900 crores.
Currently, the Indian army uses L-70 and Zu- 23 mm guns of 1950s vintage, acquired from Sweden’s Bofors and from Podolsky Electromechanical Plant, which belongs to the erstwhile Soviet Union.
In 2013, the UPA government had issued global tenders for procuring such guns and Israeli, French, Russian, Polish and British firms were invited to compete. However, none of these countries responded because they did not find the proposal lucrative enoug. The tender was later cancelled.
However, the Narendra Modi government, which is keen on following its Make-in-India policy, hopes that Indian companies such as Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Electronics, Bharat Forge, Tata’s and Punj Lyod will be able to tie up with foreign manufacturers to acquire the necessary technology.
The DAC has also allowed the Indian Navy to buy four more P8i maritime surveillance aircrafts from the US.
The Indian Navy currently owns eight such surveillance aircrafts manufactured by Boeing. The purchase of four more such aircrafts is likely to cost the exchequer Rs 4,380 crores.