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Centre approves purchase of jets, missile systems, weapons
Total procurement cost estimated at over Rs 38,000 crore
New Delhi: In the midst of India’s tense border standoff with China, the defence ministry on Thursday approved procurement of 33 frontline fighter jets, a number of missile systems and other military hardware at a cost of Rs 38,900 crore to bolster the combat capability of the armed forces, officials said.
They said 21 MiG-29 fighter jets will be procured from Russia while 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft will be bought from State-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). A separate proposal to upgrade existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft has also been approved.
The ministry has also approved procurement of 248 ASTRA beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile systems and a sighificant number of long range land attack cruise missile systems, the officials said.
The ASTRA missile is designed to engage and destroy highly manoeuvring supersonic aircraft and has all weather day and night capability.
The decisions on procurement of the fighter jets, missile systems and other military equipment were taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The DAC is the highest decision-making body of the defence ministry on procurement.
The DAC also approved acquisition of Pinaka missile systems as well as procurement of long range land attack missile systems having a firing range of 1000 km.
In a press release, the ministry referred to the “current situation and the need to strengthen the armed forces for the defence of our borders” while talking about the decisions of the DAC.
The Indian and Chinese armies are locked in a bitter standoff in multiple locations in eastern Ladakh for the last seven weeks.
Pak rejects reports
The Pakistan Army on Thursday rejected as “false and irresponsible” media reports that it has moved around 20,000 additional soldiers along the LoC in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan to match the Chinese deployments on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The military’s media wing in a statement on Twitter “vehemently” denied the presence of Chinese troops in Pakistan and refuted reports that the Skardu Airbase in PoK was being used by China.
Amid the military stand-off between India and China in eastern Ladakh, media reports claimed that Pakistan has deployed “almost 20,000 additional soldiers” along the LoC in PoK and Gilgit-Baltistan “to match Chinese deployments on the LAC in the east. (PTI)