Flagging concerns over the slow pace of military modernisation, defence minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday said the new government would expedite the procurement process to address the requirements of the armed forces.
Shortly after inaugurating the biannual naval commanders’ conference, he said, “The key subject matter of concern appears to be the slow pace of acquisition. The navy has highlighted that. Several decisions are in the pipeline and I think there is a good case for these processes to be expedited.”
The conference is held to discuss operational issues, identify capability gaps and to review future plans.
The navy is currently focusing on efforts to strengthen its undersea warfare capabilities to counter the rapid expansion of China’s submarine fleet. A key programme that needs to be accelerated is the acquisition of six new submarines under a `55,000-crore project code-named P-75I.
The force also needs to induct minesweepers, multirole helicopters and new stealth frigates under Project-17A.
Other priorities include arming India’s biggest and most expensive warship, INS Vikramaditya, with air defence systems and buying torpedoes for Scorpene submarines.
Jaitley indicated that the requirements of the armed forces would be met despite the economy being under pressure.
He said economic growth had been less than 5% for two consecutive years, the first such slump in 25 years.
The government’s priority was to accelerate economic growth and reinstate the trust of investors in the economy, he added.