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India approves defence acquisition projects worth Rs 2.23 lakh cr

India approves defence acquisition projects worth Rs 2.23 lakh cr
New Delhi, India on Thursday accorded an initial approval to defence acquisition projects worth Rs 2.23 lakh crore that included procurement of 97 Tejas light combat aircraft and 156 Prachand combat helicopters, in a major move to significantly enhance the combat capabilities of the armed forces. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, cleared the projects, at a time India is locked in a bitter military standoff with China at a number of friction points in eastern Ladakh for over three years.

The defence ministry said 98 per cent of the total procurement worth Rs 2.23 lakh crore will be sourced from the domestic industries and that the move will give a substantial boost to the Indian defence industry in achieving the goal of 'Aatmanirbharta' (self-reliance) in defence industry.

The DAC also approved a proposal of the Indian Air Force to upgrade its Su-30 fighter fleet by state-run aerospace major Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL).

The DAC further accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) or initial approval for procurement of two types of anti-tank munitions namely area denial munition (ADM) type-2 and type-3.

The top body on procurement of military hardware also cleared acquisition and integration of automatic target tracker (ATT) and digital basaltic computer (DBC) for T-90 tanks besides approving another proposal to buy medium range anti-ship missiles (MRAShM) for the Indian Navy.

The MRAShM is a lightweight surface-to-surface missile which will be a primary offensive weapon onboard various Indian naval ships.

"The DAC accorded AoNs for procurement of Light Combat Helicopter for Indian Air Force and Indian Army and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Mk-1A for IAF from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under Buy (Indian-IDDM) category," the ministry said.

Though it did not mention the specific numbers, official sources said 97 Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (Mark 1A) are being procured for the IAF and 156 Light Combat Helicopters (LCH) are being procured for the Army and the Air Force.

In February 2021, the defence ministry sealed a Rs 48,000 crore deal with the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd for procurement of 83 Tejas MK-1A jets for the IAF.

With the additional fleet, the number of indigenously-developed Tejas aircraft being procured by the IAF would go up to 180.

"The AoNs have also been accorded by the DAC for upgradation of Su-30 MKI aircraft indigenously from HAL.

"While procurement of these equipment will provide enormous strength to the IAF, acquisition from domestic defence industries will take the indigenous capability to a new height," the ministry said in a statement.

"It will also reduce dependability on foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) substantially," it added.

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