Defence Acquisition Council clears proposals with a total value of Rs 45,000 crore
Amidst the shifting sands of global geopolitics, India continues to chart an assertive course. The Defence Acquisition Council's (DAC) latest approval of nine pivotal capital acquisition proposals, with a total value of Rs 45,000 crore, is another sign of India's commitment to fortify its defence capabilities, while simultaneously promoting indigenous industries.

All these procurements will be made from Indian vendors under Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured (IDMM)/Buy (Indian) category which will give substantial boost to the Indian defence Industry towards achieving the goal of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat, the Ministry of Defence announced on Friday (September 15, 2023).

The approvals granted by the DAC chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh include the Acceptance of Necessity  (AoN) for equipment for the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and the Indian Air Force.

Indian Army: Procurement of Light Armoured Multipurpose Vehicles (LAMV) and Integrated Surveillance and Targeting System (ISAT-S) to enhance protection, mobility, attack capability and increased survivability of Mechanised Forces. The DAC also cleared AoN for procurement of High Mobility Vehicle (HMV) Gun Towing Vehicles for swift mobilisation and deployment of Artillery Guns and Radars.

Indian Navy: Procurement of Next Generation Survey Vessels which will greatly enhance its capabilities in performing Hydrographic Operations.

Indian Air Force: The DAC also accorded AoN for proposals of the Indian Air Force which included Avionic upgradation of Dornier Aircraft to improve the accuracy and reliability for operations. The procurement of Dhruvastra Short Range Air-to-Surface Missile as a potent Indigenous Precision Guided Weapon for indigenously built ALH Mk-IV Helicopters has been cleared by the DAC. The AoN for procurement of 12 Su-30 MKI Aircraft with associated equipment from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was also accorded.

Defence Minister Singh has championed these initiatives as cornerstones in realising the dream of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' or a self-reliant India. Such a monumental investment in defence is an effort to uphold the nation’s sovereignty against external pressures and challenges.

These aren't mere transactions; they signify a robust strategic vision. The 21st century heralds a new era of geopolitics, where nations aren't merely competing for territory but for technological dominance, economic resilience, and soft power influence. A fortified defence infrastructure offers a dual advantage: it's a deterrent to potential aggressors and an assurance to global partners of India's commitment to shared peace and prosperity objectives.

By opting to procure solely from Indian vendors in the Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured (IDMM)/Buy (Indian) category, India is making a bold statement. The Defence Minister has emphasized on the galvanizing commitment it sheds to the domestic defence industry whilst serving as a catalyst for ancillary sectors like electronics, metallurgy, and software. The intended outcome of this move is to create a ripple effect of economic growth.

Chairing the meeting, Defence Minister Singh called for increasing the threshold of indigenous content in IDDM projects from 50% to a minimum of 60-65%.

While India has historically been a significant importer of defense equipment, recent years have seen a substantial shift in this narrative. Officials have emphasized that India is rapidly establishing itself as a formidable player in terms of manufacturing in the defense sector while nations globally realign their defense strategies to confront both traditional and contemporary threats.

This renewed emphasis on indigenization also carries a broader socio-economic implication. Apart from the direct economic benefits stemming from local manufacturing, there’s an indirect upliftment of ancillary industries, technology transfer to other sectors, and the overall modernization of India’s manufacturing base. 

This initiative has also been positively perceived by many countries, paving avenues for potential collaborations. Several nations are now keen on co-developing technologies, conducting joint exercises, and even exploring options for defense equipment export. This naturally bodes well for India’s diplomatic relations, further solidifying its place in global forums.