Emergency deals done of around Rs.20,000 Crores for arms and ammunition to ensure its fighters and tanks, infantry and warships; all ready to go to battle at a short notice.
As per Defence ministry sources, the aim is to guarantee the armed forces to undertake at least 10 days of "intense fighting" without worrying about ammunition, spares and other reserves. The action for concluding the new contracts, primarily with Russia, Israel and France, was set in motion after the terror attack in Jammu & Kashim's Uri on September 18, 2016.
Apart from launching massive fire assaults across the Line of Control and the "surgical strikes" on terror launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir on September 29, the government had also set-up empowered procurement committees under the Army, Navy and IAF vice-chiefs with emergency financial powers to "make up deficiencies" in the stockpiles at the earliest.
The 2017-18 Budget may not have allocated much for new military modernisation projects, with the bulk of the Rs 86,488 crore capital outlay earmarked for "committed liabilities", but the armed forces are gung-ho about the fast-track procedures now in place to ensure "serviceability and availability" of existing weapon systems and platforms.
Indian Air Force, has concluded 43 contracts worth over Rs 9,200 crore for ammunition and spares for its fighter jets like Sukhoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s and MiG-29s, transport aircraft like IL-76s, mid-air refuellers like IL-78s and the Phalcon AWACS (airborne warning and control systems).
Indian Army has inked around 10 contracts worth over Rs 5,800 crore with Russian companies alone ranging from engines and 125mm APFSDS (armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot) ammunition for its T-90S and T-72 tanks to anti-tank guided missiles and Smerch rockets.
"The emergency purchases will obviate the need for armed forces to present long shopping lists to the government after every major terror strike. They can now maintain operational readiness for different contingencies," as per the source explained.
As per operational norms, the WWR should be sufficient for 30 days of "intense" and 30 days of "normal" fighting. But the Army simply does not have such reserves. The CAG, incidentally, had also taken note of this alarming state of affairs in a report tabled in Parliament.