Defence Ministry Approves Procurement Of Assault And Sniper Rifles For Rs 15,000 Crore

Nirmala Sitharaman poses for a profile shoot at her office on June 1, 2015 in New Delhi, India. (Pradeep Gaur/Mint via Getty Images)

The Ministry of Defence today (13 February) approved the procurement of both assault rifles and sniper rifles for the Indian Army and Indian Air Force at a cost of Rs 15,935 crore, reports The Indian Express. The approval comes as a response to a long pending demand from soldiers deployed in border regions.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) – chaired by Minister for Defence Nirmala Sitharaman – approved the Capital Acquisition Proposals required for the procurement of sniper rifles and Light Machine Guns (LMGs).

A statement from the ministry states that the armed forces would acquire the required quantity of LMGs on a fast-track basis at a cost of Rs 1819 crores while the remaining quanitity will then be procured under a “Buy and Make (Indian)“ plan.

The council also approved the purchase of 5,719 sniper rifles at a cost of Rs 982 crore from both domestic and foreign suppliers while their ammunition would subsequently be manufactured domestically. Earlier, the council had given the green signal for 72,400 assault rifles and 93,895 carbines at a cost of Rs 3547 crores on a fast track basis.

The council today approved the procurement of 7.2 lakh assault rifles at a cost of Rs 12,280 crore. While their specifications may vary from the assault rifles being purchased for deployment in border areas, they will be manufactured domestically by both the public-sector Ordnance Board and private sector units.

The council also gave a thumbs up to procure Advanced Torpedo Decoy Systems (ATDS) for the Indian Navy. Indigenous “Mareech”, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully completed trials and Rs 850 crore will be spent on developing it for the Navy by Bengaluru-based Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).