Millennium Post

Defence ministry’s approval to Rs 5,000 crore acquisition plan

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.

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 3 December 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.
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