In the midst of India's tense border standoff with China, The Defence Ministry on Thursday approved procurement of a number of frontline fighter jets, missile systems and other platforms at a cost of Rs 38,900 crore to bolster the combat capability of the armed forces, officials said.
They said 21 MiG-29 fighter jets are being bought from Russia while 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft will be procured from Russia. The ministry has also approved a separate proposal to upgrade existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft.
The decisions were taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The ministry also cleared the acquisition of 248 Astra Beyond Visual Range air-time air missiles for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Navy along with the design and development of a new 1,000-kilometre strike range Land Attack Cruise Missile by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), said officials.
The procurement of 21 MiG-29 and upgrading of the existing fleet of MiG-29 are estimated to cost the government Rs 7,418 crore while purchase of 12 new Su-30 MKI from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd will be made at a cost of Rs 10,730 crore, the officials said.
The decisions come in the backdrop of the ongoing crisis with China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Eastern Ladakh. Last month, at least 20 personnel of the Indian Army were killed in Galwan Valley during violent clashes with China's People's Liberation Army (PLA).
Of the 38,900 crore, acquisitions worth Rs 31,130 crore would be from the Indian industry. The projects cleared include ammunition for Pinaka rocket launchers, BMP combat vehicle upgrades and software-defined radios for the Army.
"The equipment to be manufactured in India involving Indian defence industry with participation of several MSMEs as prime tier vendors," said a statement from the DAC. "The indigenous content in some of these projects is up to 80% of the project cost. A large number of these projects have been made possible due to transfer of technology by DRDO to the indigenous industry. These include Pinaka ammunitions, BMP armament upgrades and software-defined radios for the Army, long-range Land Attack Cruise Missile Systems and Astra Missiles for Navy and Air Force. The cost of these design and development proposals is in the range of Rs 20,400 crore."
G Satheesh Reddy, Secretary DD R&D and Chairman of DRDO, said, "Air-to-air missile Astra, software-defined radio, Pinaka munitions and Land Attack Cruise in missile are state-of-the-art systems developed by DRDO. The armed forces and the industry will be immensely benefitted with the manufacturing of these indigenous systems."