Indian defence forces to get emergency powers to acquire critical weapon systems through fast-track route
Seeking to further strengthen operational preparedness, India is likely to allow defence forces to buy critical weapons systems under emergency acquisition powers which would allow them to buy any system or equipment under the fast-track route. The powers, which were first granted to defence forces post-Uri surgical strikes in 2016 during heightened tensions with Pakistan, have been helpful in tackling the military standoff with China going on since May 2020.
The case for granting emergency acquisition powers to defence forces is expected to come up for discussion in a high-level defence ministry meeting planned to be held next week.
government sources told ANI here. The emergency powers allow forces to acquire any new or in-service equipment on a fast-track basis to improve preparedness for conflict situations. In the previous approvals, the defence forces had the power to sign deals for equipment worth Rs 300 crore and the products had to be delivered within three months to one year, the sources said. The armed forces have to spend funds on the new acquisitions from their own budgetary allocation and they don’t have to take the defence ministry’s approval for these deals, the sources said.
The defence forces have strengthened their preparedness through these acquisitions as the Indian Air Force and the Army received ‘Heron’ unmanned aerial vehicles which have now been deployed for surveillance in Ladakh as well as in the northeast for keeping an eye on Chinese activities. The forces have also got missiles which can hit ground targets from long ranges. The Rafale fighter jets have also received a boost with the induction of the HAMMER missiles which can hit hardened ground targets like bunkers from a long distance. The Army and the IAF also used these powers to strengthen their small arms as the Sig Sauer assault rifles have been inducted into all three forces now.
Indian armed forces extensively utilised the emergency procurement powers granted to them in different phases by the government to equip themselves with the necessary weaponry to handle any conflict or aggression by enemies on both sides. The armed forces have a long list of equipment to buy and will use the powers to buy both indigenous as well as foreign manufactured products. The powers are being granted to the defence forces again by the government at a time when China is showing aggressive manoeuvres on the Taiwan front and holding multiple missile firings and indulging in display of strength in the region. On the other hand, Pakistani agencies are also trying to carry out operations along the maritime border with India near the Gujarat coast.