New Delhi: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today asked the three services - Indian Army, Navy and Air Force - to review and cancel long pending acquisition projects that have lost relevance.
- Armed Forces told to review old projects, buy only relevant equipment
- Since 2014, military equipment worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore purchased
- However, 314 cases of procurement of military equipment still pending
Mr Parrikar, who today chaired a Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) meet - the highest body that clears defence purchases - told the three chiefs the forces should only process "purchase of those equipment that are still relevant for the forces."
Almost all defence purchases typically take at least five years and go through several phases starting from tendering to equipment and technical trails and commercial negotiations.
Since 2014, when the Narendra Modi-led NDA Government came to power, 81 cases of military hardware acquisition worth about Rs 1.5 lakh crore (about USD $23 billion) have been cleared. Much of this is under the 'Make in India' category - for instance the purchase of Mine Counter Measure Vessels or Mine Sweepers for the Navy. The Goa Shipyard Limited has been asked to build these after finding a suitable foreign partner. There are, however, some - like the purchase of attack and heavy lift helicopters from the United States - that are being brought from the foreign vendor.
However, about 314 cases of procurement of military equipment are still pending. Defence Minister Parrikar has asked the three forces and the Ministry to try and complete the process between in the next three to four months.
Despite the recent effort of the Modi government to prioritise defence equipment manufacturing in India, under the "Make in India" programme, India continues to be the biggest importer of military hardware in the world, according to a recently released report of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
Aggressive changes in defence equipment manufacturing policy, more cooperation and coordination between the forces, the private sector, Defence Public Sector Undertakings, assured orders for the private sector and grants for designing and developing military hardware are some the steps that the government has unveiled recently to kick start defence equipment manufacturing in India. The Government hopes these changes will start showing results in the next five years, dramatically reducing foreign exchange outflow and make India a defence manufacturing hub as well.