The ongoing tussle with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Pakistan on the western front compelled the Indian Armed forces to spend ₹18,000 crore to increase its firepower last year.
The killing of 20 Indian soldiers by the Chinese army in Galwan Valley in June last year triggered a series of purchases that included light machine guns, light special vehicles and personal protective gear for infantry soldiers, infantry carrier vehicles for mechanised infantry and long-range vectors for artillery.
Speaking at an Indian Army Day function on Friday (January 15), Army Chief Gen MM Naravane said a procurement worth ₹5,000 crore was made under an emergency provision. “A total of 38 deals were made under emergency and fast-track scheme for purchasing arms and other material. Besides, contracts under capital procurement plans worth ₹13,000 crore were finalised,” Gen Naravane said.
Besides buying emergency material for troops in the wake of harsh winter along the two borders (with Pakistan and China), the Army also spent on welfare schemes for families of Army personnel amid the standoff. Gen Naravane said the family welfare programme was run under the name ‘Operation Snow Leopard’. Some of the features of the programme included family pensions, war injury allocations and higher ex-gratia to the families of soldiers who were killed or injured on the two borders.
Taking the extreme cold conditions into consideration, the Army spent on stocking clothes, shelters, tents and other logistics that would help sustain extremely low temperatures.
Special winter clothing was brought in from the US. Other deals included purchases of guns, vehicles and protective gear for soldiers among other things.
Gen Naravane said the Army is fast moving towards modernisation and self-reliance of our forces is an integral part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ programme.
The Army chief said the Indian Army aims to encourage the use of indigenous technology so that we reduce dependence on imports.