India on Thursday approved $8.5 billion worth of purchases of missiles, helicopters, artillery weapons and electronic warfare systems as it seeks to add more teeth to its military. The Defense Acquisition Council (DAC), the government’s highest body for approving capital acquisitions for the Indian military, has approved orders worth 705 billion rupees ($8.52 billion) for all its services, the defense ministry said in a statement.
All orders will be awarded to Indian companies, he said, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s push to boost domestic defense production. Surrounded by nuclear powers China and Pakistan and dogged by tensions with Chinese troops along the disputed Himalayan border, India is seeking to modernize its largely Soviet-era military equipment.
The focus on the navy, which represented an approval worth 560 billion rupees on Thursday, comes after India expressed concern over Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean last year. The list of approved purchases included 200 more BrahMos missiles, 50 utility helicopters and electronic warfare systems for the Navy.
BrahMos is a supersonic missile with a range of approximately 300 km, jointly developed by India and Russia. All three Indian military services have been using versions of the missile for more than a decade.
The DAC has also approved the production of a diesel marine engine, which will be a first for India. It approved the Air Force’s proposal for a long-range remote weapon to be used by the Sukhoi-30MKI fighter. The Army has been instructed to procure 307 155mm/52 caliber towed artillery pieces along with high mobility vehicles and gun towing vehicles.
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