The defence ministry on Thursday cleared the decks for equipping the army with two Pinaka missile regiments with 36 launchers at a cost of Rs 3,300 crore. The defence acquisition council (DAC) gave its nod to proposals worth over Rs 15,000 crore to beef up the military’s combat potential.
The DAC, chaired by defence minister Manohar Parrikar, set the ball rolling for a Rs 4,300-crore project for upgrading the air force’s Ilyushin-76 heavy lift and IL-78 midair refueling fleets, upgrade of Pechora air defence systems for Rs 1,800 crore and purchase of 149 armoured personnel carriers for Rs 924 crore.
Other projects that were approved included purchase of four multi-purpose vessels for the navy at a cost of Rs 2,800 crore.
The DAC meeting took place on the eve of Parrikar’s visit to Russia to strengthen military cooperation at a time when there’s a sense of unease in Moscow over India turning to the west for its military requirements. The visit comes against backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelling to Moscow in December for the annual India-Russia summit.
India is considering a proposal to buy Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missiles to defeat aerial threats such as fighter planes and missiles. Parrikar’s visit also assumes significance as unresolved technical and price issues have blocked the signing of a $11-billion contract between the two countries for the research and development phase of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft. India has sought 27 technical clarifications on the proposed joint project to build a 30-tonne stealth fighter.