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Countering China, Pak: Indian army finalises Rs 40,000 cr plan to replace ageing weapons

The world's second largest standing Army has been pressing for fast-tracking the procurement of various weapons systems considering the evolving security threats

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Indian army, security forces, BSF, soldiers
The army is fast-tracking the procurement of various weapons systems considering the evolving internal and along the borders security threats

The Indian has finalised one of its biggest procurement plans for under which a large number of light machine guns, battle carbines and are being purchased at a cost of nearly Rs 40,000 crore to replace its ageing and obsolete The broad process to acquire around 0.7 million rifles, 44,000 light machine guns (LMGs) and nearly 44,600 carbines has been finalised and the defence ministry is on the same page with the in moving ahead with the procurement, official sources told PTI. The world’s second largest has been pressing for fast-tracking the procurement of various systems considering the evolving security threats including along the borders with Pakistan and China. Apart from kick-starting the procurement process, the government has also sent a message to the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to expedite its work on various small arms, particularly on an LMG. The sources said a fresh RFI (request for information) to procure the will be issued in the next few days, months after the defence ministry scrapped the tender for the 7.62 calibre guns as there was only one vendor left after a series of field trials. The plan is to initially procure around 10,000 The has also finalised the specifications for a new 7.62 mm assault rifle and the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), the defence ministry’s highest decision making body on procurement, is expected to give the go-ahead for the much- needed procurement soon. “The General Service Quality Requirements (GSQR) for the new assault rifle has been finalised. The procurement plan will soon be placed before the DAC for approval,” said a senior official, who is part of the acquisition process. In June, the had rejected an assault rifle built by the state-run Rifle Factory, Ishapore, after the guns miserably failed the firing tests. The procurement of has witnessed significant delays due to a variety of reasons including the Army's failure to finalise the specifications for it.

The needs around 0.7 million 7.62x51 mm assault guns to replace its INSAS rifles. The had issued RFI for the rifles in September last year and around 20 firms responded to it. An RFI is a process whose purpose is to collect information about capabilities of various vendors. In June, the had kick-started the initial process to procure around 44,600 carbines, nearly eight months after a tender for it was retracted, also due to single-vendor situation. Around half a dozen firms including a few global arms manufacturers have responded to the RFI. sources said various specifications for the and battle carbines were tweaked to ensure that the problem of single vendor does not recur. The combined cost of the LMGs, and carbines will be in excess of Rs 40,000 crore, said an official. On missing a number of deadlines in finalising the LMG, an official said the defence secretary has called a meeting this week of all stakeholders to discuss the project. "The plan is a major initiative of the and it will significantly bolster the overall capability of the foot soldiers," said a senior official. The issue was extensively discussed at the recently- concluded Commanders conference which felt of the must be in tune with the evolving security threat facing the country. Defence Minister conveyed to the during the conference that of the force was a priority for the government and all its "deficiencies" will be addressed to strengthen its combat capability.

First Published: Mon, October 30 2017. 09:43 IST