India's plans for modernising its armed forces during the next five years and over the next 15 years beginning April 2012 has been approved by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Defence Minister AK Antony.
The approval comes a year behind schedule, but at least within two days of the two plan periods having started.
The 15-year Long-Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) from 2012 to 2027 and the five-year Defence Plan from 2012 to 2017 got "in principle" approval, a defence
ministry official said here.
"The DAC considered the perspective plans of the defence forces in a meeting Monday and gave in principle approval to two important planning documents of the armed forces -- The LTIPP 2012-27 and Five-Year Defence Plan 2012-17," the official said.
However, no specific details of the plans were provided.
While the LTIPP is a broad vision document, the 12th Defence Plan deals more in detail with the specific requirements and modernisation plans for the armed forces, as also projections for the allocation of resources for the modernisation and day-to-day functioning.
Both the documents deal with the capital and revenue projections and are the correct step forward towards planning the functioning and growth of the armed forces.
The LTIPP and the 12th Defence Plan chart out the road map for development of capabilities for our armed forces in line with the future operational requirements and the envisaged role that the country will play within the region and outside.
"These plans have been formulated in a deliberate planning process spread over more than two years involving the defence ministry, Integrated Defence Staff headquarters and the Services headquarters," the official said.
Consequent to this clearance, which covers the vision for 12th, 13th and 14th Defence Plans, the unclassified version of the LTIPP will be promulgated in the form of Technology Perspective Capability Road Map (TPCRM) to enable the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Defence Public Sector Undertakings and the Indian industry to plan their research and development road map.
The meeting was attended among others by Indian Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma, Indian Army chief Gen VK Singh and Indian Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne, and Defence Secretary Shashi Kant Sharma.
Earlier in the day, Antony also met top brass of the Indian Army including Gen Singh for reviewing various issues and proposals relating to acquisition on capital and revenue account.
This meeting came amidst the army chief's claims of being offered a bribe and also writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the lack of adequate equipment for putting up an effective defence of the nation in case of war.
"At the meeting, Antony directed the army to streamline its acquisition process in such a manner that accountability can be fixed in case of any slippages," a defence ministry official said.
The meeting was in continuation of earlier review meetings held in September last year and January this year. Another meeting will be held next month to review the progress made on the decisions taken in Monday's meeting.
Antony also asked officials of the defence ministry and the army to examine the possibility of compressing the time taken for technical evaluations and trials.
Estimates suggest that defence acquisitions usually take a seven-year period to fructify.
"Antony also asked the officials of the defence ministry to examine the possibility of compressing the time taken for technical evaluations and trials," the official said, adding that he also favoured delegation of more financial powers to the service headquarters if it can lead to speedier acquisition of equipment, platforms and systems for the services.
At present, the services headquarters can approve defence contracts worth Rs.50 crore or less (about $10 million).
Apart from the army brass, the meeting was attended by Sashi Kant Sharma and Director General (Acquisition) Vivek Rae.
Indian Army has major acquisitions in the form of four types of artillery guns, several air defence weapons, infantry weapons, special forces gizmo and aviation assets in the offing.