The Ministry of Defence has given clearance to fast-track the purchase of 7,40,000 assault rifles that will cost Rs 12,280 crore.
Mega Procurement plan:
Assault rifles, Light Machine Guns (LMGs) and sniping weapons costing over Rs 15,000 crore are part of a mega procurement plan to equip soldiers who are part of counter-terror operations and are serving on the borders.
The decision comes amid increased violence on the Line of Control with frequent skirmishes with Pakistani forces, the army battling massive infiltration bids and counter-terror operations in Jammu and Kashmir.
These rifles will be manufactured domestically through the participation of Ordnance Factory Board and private industry, the ministry said in a statement.
Over 5000 sniper rifles costing Rs 982 crore and LMGs worth Rs 1819 core are also part of the procurement plan that got a go-ahead on Monday by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The weapons will be meant for all three services—Army, Navy and Air Force.
This is the second massive procurement proposal for small arms that has been cleared within a month. In January the Ministry of Defence cleared procurement of 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines worth Rs 3547 crore.
Sources said the Army had been pressing for early procurement of assault rifles and other small arms in wake of the increasing terror operations in Kashmir.
Earlier the army expressed reservations on the assault rifle being developed by the Ordnance Factory Board. A review of the ‘desi’ or indigenously designed assault rifle done by the army earlier had found the weapon “unsatisfactory” and “unreliable.”
Other than the procurement plan for these weapons the Defence Ministry also cleared the Advanced Torpedo Decoy System to enhance the anti submarine warfare capabilities of the Indian Navy costing Rs 850 crore. The system has been indigenously developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.