Adding much needed power to armed forces, nation’s top government committee, chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved acquisitions worth Rs. 15,935 crore.
A chunk of the weapons, including an undisclosed number of light machine guns and 7.4 lakh assault rifles will be manufactured in India but follow foreign designs. There will also be 5,719 sniper rifles, meant for the army, which will be direct imports, the government said following a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council – the government’s highest decision-making body on procurement. The ammunition will be initially procured and subsequently manufactured in India. The three services will receive an undisclosed number of light machine guns at a cost of 1,819 crores. The 7.4 lakh assault rifles, which will go to the army, will cost Rs. 12,280 crore, the government said.
The armed forces had flagged the need for new guns 11 years ago. Soldiers have been using AK-47 and indigenous INSAS or Indian Small Arms System rifles since 1988 and there were plans to arm them with deadlier higher-caliber assault rifles, especially in border areas and during counter-insurgency operations.