New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has cleared the proposal to buy 7.40 lakh assault rifles for the three services and will also procure light machine guns worth Rs 1,819 crore. The Narendra Modi government has also cleared the proposal for the purchase of 5,719 sniper rifles for the Army at the cost of Rs 982 crore.
The Indian Army has been pressuring to fast-track the procurement of the weapons considering the threats from bordering Pakistan and China. 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 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 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.
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.