In a move that will boost India’s defense capabilities, the Union Cabinet has given a go-ahead to a mega project of procuring Akash surface to air missiles in addition to 83 light combat aircrafts (LCA).
Sources suggest that along with this, there may also be a deal for attaining 15 light combat helicopters for the Indian forces. The estimated cost for the procurement of Akash surface to air missiles and 83 light combat aircraft has been pegged at INR 5500 crore.
New defence procurement policy
Sources also suggest that India will be looking to revamp its present policy for defence procurement in order the simplify the purchase of defence equipment to bolster the country’s security.
The policy on defence procurement is expected to be rolled out by March 2020. The deal for acquiring 83 light combat aircraft is anticipated to be signed by the end of this year and is being cited as being vital for India’s defence.
The Indian Air Force has time and again expressed the urgency to replace its old fleet of combat aircraft and this deal will be a prospective step towards addressing the concerns of the Indian Air Force. In what comes as another boost to the IAF, it would soon be receiving the first batch of Rafale jets from France which are considered the most advanced fighter jets in South Asia.
India is facing newer security challenges amid rising tensions with Pakistan over the Kashmir dispute and China’s military expansion in South Asia as well as the Indo-Pacific. National security has been a strong sentiment of policymaking for the Narendra Modi government and one of the predominant reasons why PM Modi was voted back to power by the voters of India.
The procurement of LCA and Akash surface to air missiles are also crucial for the Make in India initiative of the Modi government under which India ultimately aspires to be a defence exporter than being a nation which only imports defence equipment. The Akash surface to air missiles have been developed by DRDO and produced by Bharat Dynamics Limited while the LCA project has been helmed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.