The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved a host of defence capital acquisitions worth Rs. 860 crore.
The DAC meeting held on April 3 was the first chaired by Arun Jaitley since he assumed the additional charge of the Ministry of Defence on March 13.
The approvals include the purchase of 100 additional Israeli Barak-I surface-to-air missiles for naval warships at a cost of around Rs. 500-crore. The missiles will be procured under 'Buy Global' category from Rafael Advance DefenceSystems Limited of Israel.
This approval assumes significance as it comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July this year. Israel being one of the top three suppliers of defence equipment to India.
The DAC also accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for a Rs 311-crore procurement of equipment to counter mines in the sea along with the purchase of “expendable bathythermograph systems” - devices with a temperature sensor to detect changes in water temperature - under the foreign military sales route from the US.
Almost all Indian Navy ships will be equipped with these missiles.
According to sources, the Minister of Defence also reviewed several old procurement proposals and gave instructions for expeditious clearance of pending capital acquisition cases. Jaitley asked for a close monitoring of the pending proposals with the Competent Financial Authority and the Contract Negotiation Committee.
In addition, the DAC also cleared procurement of 'Expendable Bathythermograph Systems', a small torpedoshaped device that holds a temperature sensor and a transducer to detect changes in water temperature, for the Indian Navy which will be acquired from the US of A.
The DAC is the Defence Ministry's highest decision-making body for capital acquisition.
(The author is a media, communications and policy specialist. She writes on constitutional matters, defence, legal issues, gender inequality and travel, and edits books and reports for publishing houses and organisations. Currently, she is Program Director at the Flags of Honour Foundation and works on policy issues on Defence and Veteran Affairs. In her free time, she likes to head off to the mountains, meditate, and grow organic vegetables.)