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HindustanTimes Wed,03 Sep 2014

Defence ministry clears Rs. 5,000 crore acquisition proposals

PTI  New Delhi, November 11, 2013
First Published: 23:15 IST(11/11/2013) | Last Updated: 23:17 IST(11/11/2013)

The defence ministry on Monday cleared proposals worth over Rs. 5,000 crore for procuring equipment including night vision devices for infantry soldiers and rockets but deferred decisions on buying anti-tank and anti- ship missiles from an Israeli firm facing a CBI probe.

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by defence minister AK Antony was supposed to take a call on procuring Barak air defence missiles and Spike third generation anti-tank guided missiles from Israeli firm Rafael under projects worth over Rs. 15,000 crore together.

On the Barak missiles, which were to be deployed onboard country's lone aircraft carrier INS Virat, the defence ministry has formed an independent committee to take a final call on whether the air defence system can be procured in view of the probe against it, defence ministry officials said here.

The ministry had sought an opinion from the Attorney General on whether the missiles could be procured and after his reply, it has been decided that an independent committee be formed. The final decision is expected to be taken in the next DAC meeting, they said.

The case for procuring Spike ATGMs was scheduled for the meeting but was not taken up for discussion, officials said.

This missile too is manufactured by Rafael. The American side is also believed to have been pressurising India to buy its Javelin missiles.

A CBI probe is pending into the Barak kickbacks case in which the then Defence Minister George Fernandes and several other officers have been named.

The ministry also decided to extend the time for replying to the tender for producing 56 aircraft to replace the Avro fleet of the IAF against the backdrop of protest by heavy industries minister Praful Patel against the decision to bar PSUs from taking part in it.

The vendors were supposed to reply by December 3 but now it has been extended by three months, officials said.

Under the Rs. 3,800 crore plan for procuring night vision devices for carbines of infantry soldiers, the Ministry approved that the tender be issued to Bharat Electronics Limited and private companies under the 'Buy Indian' category of the Defence Procurement Procedure.

Under this project of procuring night vision devices, the firms would be asked to produce the image intensification tube within the country, officials said.

So far, the Indian vendors including BEL have relied on foreign suppliers mainly including the Israelis.

The DAC meeting also approved procurement of 10,000 rockets under Transfer of Technology from Russia for the GRAD multi-barrel rocket launchers under the Rs. 683 crore project.

These rockets to be procured under the contract would be of extended range, they said.

The meeting also approved offset proposals made by a US manufacturer for supplying four additional P-8I anti-submarine warfare aircraft to be procured for Rs. 4,381 crore.

India has already procured eight P-8I long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft from the US and is looking for buying four more.

The meeting also cleared a proposal for procuring light specialist vehicles.


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