Following the raging criticism revolving around the defence preparedness of the country and its tardy rate of procurements, the Defence Minister AK Antony has decided to increase the financial powers of the three armed forces headquarters to allow purchases worth $ 30 million. Antony held a meeting with the army, navy and air force chiefs where the in-principle approval to a three-fold hike in the delegation of financial powers was assured.
The growing dissent about the lackadaisical approach of the government regarding crucial acquisitions for homeland security has led to the three-fold increase from the existing $ 10 million limit. The in-principle approval of a three-fold hike was given in New Delhi during a meeting where the defence Minister AK Antony, Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma and the three chiefs of the armed of forces were present.
The latest approval will translate into heightened financial power of the three Service Headquarters amounting to roughly $ 30 million per contract from the current $ 10 million cap. The Defence Minister has also conducted a detail review of the security situation and operational preparedness of the armed forces during this latest meeting with the three chiefs.
Besides the hike in the financial powers, Defence Minister Antony has also directed the three services to streamline their acquisition process and fix accountability in case of delays in procurement of critical equipment. The Defence Minister also urged the three service chiefs to explore more avenues for giving permanent commission to women in the armed forces.
Meanwhile, the Defence Minister has already held three review meetings to speed up the acquisition process of various on-going defence deals. The recent incident where the Indian Army Chief had pointed out the critical hollowness in the arms of ammunition of the1.13 million strong force seems to have made the Defence Ministry look up and take notice.
Currently, there are over a hundred procurement projects which are being fast-tracked by the Defence Ministry which amount to the tune of $ 3.3 billion. These include new regiments of BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launchers, 10,000 Konkurs-M anti-tank guided missiles and 25,000 Invar missiles. Besides, the project to step-up infrastructure along the border for smooth troops and equipment mobility is also being fast-tracked.
The Defence Ministry has also recently approved the 15-year Long Term Integrated Perspective Planning (LTIPP) and the 12th Defence Plan. This will give a projection of the needs of the armed forces to be met through indigenisation and private sector participation. The LTIPP and Five Year Defence Plan will be initiated this year and govern all the future development programmes of the three forces.