Defence Ministry Approved Purchase Of 41k Light Machine Guns

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New Delhi: The government on Wednesday approved acquisition proposals worth nearly Rs 9,435 crore, including procurement of 41,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and more than 3.5 lakh clode-quarter carbines to bolster the firepower of soldiers deployed along the borders with China and Pakistan.

The proposals were cleared at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement led by Union minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The private sector will supply 75% of the total quantity while the remaining will be provided by the Ordnance Factory Board. “The vintage of personal weapons, assault rifles, carbines and LMGs being operated by troops of the three services, especially by soldiers positioned on the borders and in areas affected by militancy has been a cause of concern for over a decade,” the spokesperson said.

The ministry said the weapons are being procured particularly to enhance the fire power of soldiers deployed along India’s borders with Pakistan and China. “Of these (weapons), immediate operational requirement for the soldiers deployed on the borders will be procured through fast track procurement and for the balance production lines will be set up in India,” the ministry added.

The council also cleared the acquisition high-capacity radio relay sets to provide reliable communication for the army and air force at a cost of Rs 1,092 crore. Also, the DAC cleared the purchase of two pollution control vessels for the coast guard for Rs 673 crore.

Last week, the council cleared the purchase of 156 infantry combat vehicles (ICV) worth Rs 1,125 crore and a survey vessel for navy worth Rs 626 crore. The government has allocated Rs 2.95 lakh crore for military spending during 2018-19 in the Union budget. The amount includes Rs 99,563 crore for buying new weapons and systems.

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