Defence ministry's Rs 16,000-crore arms buy: 7.40 lakh assault rifles, 5,719 sniper...

Indian troops manning the borders will get new assault rifles, sniper rifles and light machine guns as the defence ministry on Tuesday approved a major proposal worth Rs 15,935 crore to buy military hardware.

At the meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) — the ministry’s apex body on procurement — the proposal to purchase 7.40 lakh assault rifles, 5,719 sniper rifles and light machine guns got the clearance.

The approval for the guns — to be procured under ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’ category comes, ironically, amid increasing hostilities by Pakistan along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir as well as China’s aggressive posturing in several sectors along the nearly 4,000-km-long Sino-India border.

The DAC meeting was chaired by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman. A release from the government said that the DAC accorded approval for procurement of 7.4 lakh assault rifles for the three services at an estimated cost of Rs 12,280 crore.

The rifles will be produced in India under by both state-run Ordnance Factory Board and private sector. In a statement, the ministry said “essential quantity” of light machine guns (LMGs) will be through the “fast track” route at an estimated cost of Rs 1,819 crore, primarily to meet the operational requirement of the border troops.

“A concurrent proposal is being processed for the balance quantity to be procured under the ‘Buy and M...

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