- The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) announced new indigenous drones that will help the Indian Army guard the borders against China in the Eastern Ladakh region.
- In addition to speeding up the purchase of Rafale fighter jets from France, the Indian government also approved $5.55 billion of new arms projects.
- The fund comes with special financial powers to rapidly buy weapons with a ceiling of $71.42 million.
Tensions between India and China continue to prevail along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh. The longer it trails on, it gives the Indian government an opportunity to upgrade its military technology for border surveillance.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (
DRDO) announced that it will be deploying its indigenous drones for surveillance in the region. The delivery of the famed Rafale fighter jets has also expedited on ‘special request’ from New Delhi amid the India-China border row. They are
expected to arrive by July 29.
The Ministry of Defence has also entered a $74 million contract with Bharat Earth Movers Limited (
BEML) for 1,512 Mine Ploughs for its T-90 Bhishma Tanks, which are currently deployed in Eastern Ladakh.
This development comes after India fast-tracked the finances needed to procure more weapons. On July 2, the
Defence Acquisition Council approved collection of arms projects worth $5.55 billion. A majority of the share — around $4.44 billion — will be directed towards domestic efforts.
Special powers to spend $71.42 million
A portion of the funds, around $71 million, comes with special financial powers to rapidly buy up weapons. In short-run, the government has approved the emergency purchase of Excalibur artillery rounds of the M777 ultralight howitzers from the United States.
The purchase is presumably to take on China’s new howitzer weapon which it added to its arsenal on the border in June. The short-cannon type weapon is capable of firing projectiles at high trajectories. The weapons are relatively new and only made their public debut during a military parade in Beijing in October 2019.
The approval also includes emergency funding for the Igla-S air defence systems from Russia and Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel.
Long term spending of $5.55 billion
Under the new set of projects that have been approved by the council, India will be able to upgrade 59 of its MiG-29 jets in addition to purchasing 21 new ones from Russia for a sum total of $1 billion.
India also plans to order 12 more Russian-made Su-30MKI fighters from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited for a whopping $1.53 billion.
The approval also covers indigenous development programs like the Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, an upgrade of the BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles, software-defined radios, Nirbhay land-attack cruise missiles and Astra beyond-visual-range missiles.
The rising heat in the South China Sea should be a cause for concern