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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

India Approves Proposals Worth $1.1 Billion to Strengthen Armed Forces Amid Border Tensions

Sputnik News

14:23 GMT 11.08.2020

New Delhi (Sputnik): On Sunday, India's Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced an embargo on the import of 101 types of defence equipment to boost the domestic industry. The Defence Ministry revealed that a budget of $7 billion has been set aside for domestic capital procurement in the current financial year.

Pushing forward the Self-Reliant India initiative and boosting the domestic defence industry, the Indian Armed Forces are set to receive basic training aircraft and "total kill" ammunition, for which it has previously relied on imports. India's Defence Acquisition Council approved proposals worth $1.1 billion (Rs 8,722.38 crore) on Tuesday for domestic capital procurement.

The Indian Air Force has been awaiting the basic training aircraft for a long time, as the shortage has resulted in frequent accidents, as per the standing committee's reports. The procurement of 106 basic trainer aircraft has been approved from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to address the basic training requirements of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

As Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has successfully developed Basic Trainer Aircraft (HTT-40) prototypes and the certification process is underway, 70 Basic Trainer Aircraft will initially be procured after certification and 36 following the operationalisation of the HTT-40 fleet in the IAF, the statement says.

The HTT-40 will be used for basic flight training, aerobatics, instrument flying, and close-formation flights, whereas its secondary roles will include navigation and night flying. HAL has claimed that the HTT-40 exceeds the Preliminary Services Qualitative Requirements (PSQR) on most fronts and offers a technologically more advanced product than its competitor.

Sources in the Indian Defence Ministry have told Sputnik that with this move, the delivery will be much earlier than before. The Armed Forces will not have to wait for six months if an order has been placed under the emergency clause, one source added.

To improve the fire power of the Indian Navy, procurement of an upgraded version of the Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM), which is fitted as the main gun on board Navy and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) warships, has been approved from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL). The upgraded version of the SRGM has enhanced capability to perform against fast manoeuvring targets like missiles and fast attack crafts as well as an increased maximum engagement range.

The approval also includes the procurement of 125 mm APFSDS (Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot) ammunition for the Indian Army as a "Design and Development Case". The Ministry of Defence statement says that the decision was made after taking view of the required capability of the domestic development of the ammunition, both in terms of "manufacturing" and "technology".

The Armour-Piercing Fin-Stabilised Discarding Sabot (APFSDS) kinetic energy penetrator is the primary ammunition of any armoured regiment, as it can effectively engage targets at ranges beyond 2,000 metres.

The approval for the acquisition from domestic companies comes as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Self-Reliant India initiative, under which the Defence Ministry has banned the import of 101 types of defence equipment, including simple parts and high technology weapons systems like artillery guns, assault rifles, corvettes, sonar systems, transport aircraft, light combat helicopters, and radar arrays.

Meanwhile, India has been in a border stand-off with China since the beginning of May and has been boosting its military capabilities ever since with new procurements and deliveries of previous orders.

© Sputnik

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