New Delhi: – With a volatile situation in Ladakh where conflict can start any time, the defence ministry has approved the purchase of defence equipment worth ₹38.9 billion. These include 33 fighter jets from Russia, 248 Astra missiles for the Air Force and Navy and other defence equipment.
The government is augmenting its defence preparedness because of the rising tension in Ladakh. On Thursday, important decisions were taken during the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Committee (DAC). Two weeks ago, the Indian Air Force had forwarded a proposal to purchase 12 Sukhoi-30MKI and 21 mig-29 fighter jets from Russia. The DAC approved this purchase.
The DAC also approved modernisation of the 59 mig-29 fighter jets, operational in the Indian Air Force fleet. The transaction for 33 new fighter jets and modernisation of the existing fleet is worth ₹18.148 billion.
Only last week, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had visited Russia. It was reported that discussions regarding this proposal for the supply of fighter jets and other defence equipment were held at this time with the Russian Defence Minister. It was indicated that Russia would expeditiously supply the necessary equipment to India. DAC approved this proposal within a week of the Defence Minister’s visit.
The DAC also approved the purchase of 248 Indian made air-to-air missiles for the fighter jets of the Indian Air Force and Navy. This is an all-weather missile and can hit the target with precision. This Astra missile was tested last year on board a Sukhoi-30 MKI, in September, last year, at Balasore in Odisha. It had been reported that the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) made specific changes in the Sukhoi-30MKI for the deployment of the Astra missile. The fighter jets from the Indian Air Force and Navy are being equipped with Astra missiles.
DAC also approved the purchase of ammunition for the Pinaka Rocket Launcher, modernisation of BPM tanks from the fleet of the Indian Army and purchase of specialised radio systems for the military. The Defence Research and Development Organisation has embarked on the development of a cruise missile with a range of 1,000 kilometres, and the DAC has approved the budget for this purpose.