MoD authorizes Rs 160 bn rifle procurement in the wake of Jammu terror strike

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Two days after yet another deadly terrorist strike in Jammu claimed six Indian lives, the defence ministry has approved the purchase of defence equipment worth Rs. 15,935 crore for the army, navy and air force, on Tuesday.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who is the head of the Defence Acquisition Council, cleared purchases of advanced torpedo decoy systems (ATDS), light machine guns, assault rifles and sniper rifles, including from the private sector.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation has recently developed the ATDS system to enhance anti-submarine warfare and has now completed trials. It will be presented by Bharat Electronics Ltd, Bengaluru, at an estimated cost of Rs850 crore, the defence ministry said in a press release.

The government has also approved to purchase light machine guns which will be for all three services under a fast-track procedure at an estimated cost of over Rs1,819 crore. It is purchased to “meet the operational requirement of the troops deployed on the borders”.

The DAC also approved the procurement of 740,000 assault rifles.

“These rifles will be ‘Made in India’ under the categorisation of ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’, through both Ordnance Factory Board and private industry at an estimated cost of Rs12,280 crore,” it added.

The DAC also authorized the purchase of 5,719 sniper rifles, which is estimated to be Rs. 982 crore, for the Indian Army and Indian Air Force.

“While these high-precision weapons will be bought with ‘Buy Global’ categorisation, the ammunition for these will be initially procured and subsequently manufactured in India,” it added.

Sitharaman on Monday said Pakistan would “pay for this misadventure” after a deadly attack by militants on an army camp in Jammu and Kashmir that killed at least six Indian soldiers.

“In the last one month, to equip the soldiers on the border with modern and more effective equipment, the DAC has fast tracked procurement of the three main personal weapons, i.e., rifles, carbines and light machine guns,” the press release added.

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