NEW DELHI: A plan to procure some much-needed fire-power for the armed forces, expected to cost Rs. 15,935 crore, was cleared by a top government committee, chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman, today. The list includes light machine guns, assault rifles and sniper rifles, the government said.
A chunk of the weapons, including an undisclosed number of light machine guns and 7.4 lakh assault rifles will be manufactured in India but follow foreign designs. There will also be 5,719 sniper rifles, meant for the army, which will be direct imports, the government said following a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council - the government’s highest decision-making body on procurement.
The three services will acquire an undisclosed number of light machine guns at a cost of 1,819 crores. The 7.4 lakh assault rifles, which will go to the army, will cost Rs. 12,280 crore, the government said.
The armed forces had flagged the need for new guns 11 years ago. Last month, the Defence Acquisition Council had decided to acquire at least some of the weapons.
The armed forces have been using AK-47 and indigenous INSAS or Indian Small Arms System rifles since 1988. These were meant to be replaced this year with deadlier assault rifles of higher calibre, especially in the border areas and during counter-insurgency operations.