Countering China's Border Threat

Countering China's Border Threat

In response to the ongoing border tensions with China, India has taken substantial measures to bolster its defense capabilities. The Indian Army recently invoked emergency purchase powers to secure weapon systems worth ₹7,300 crore from domestic manufacturers. Additionally, contracts worth another ₹7,000 crore are currently in the final stages of procurement and are expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.

A wide array of equipment has been ordered primarily from the private sector, including drone and counter-drone systems, armaments, simulators, communication systems, and vehicles. This move underscores India's proactive stance to address potential threats.

Defence insiders have revealed that a total of 49 schemes worth ₹7,600 crore have been contracted, with an additional 34 schemes valued at ₹7,000 crore nearing the end of the procurement process. These contracts were awarded after rigorous trials and a meticulous selection process, in which close cooperation with the industry played a pivotal role.

Among the advanced systems acquired are logistic and nano drones, counter-drones, loiter munitions, unarmed aerial vehicle-launched precision-guided missiles, and automatic spectrum monitoring systems. Notably, this surge in procurement powers stems from the Defence Acquisition Council's decision to delegate authority to the armed forces to swiftly acquire equipment worth up to ₹300 crore under emergency clauses. This change was introduced to expedite procurement and mitigate the bureaucratic delays that often plagued the traditional process.

Countering China's Border Threat

This is the third instance where the armed forces have been granted emergency procurement powers. The first two instances were during the Galwan crisis in 2020 and following the Balakot air strikes. However, a significant distinction is that the current emergency powers exclusively pertain to orders placed with Indian companies. This strategy aims to bolster the domestic defense sector and has seen a majority of the orders placed and those in the final stages being secured by Indian private enterprises.

The first three rounds of emergency procurement witnessed the signing of 68 schemes valued at ₹6,600 crore. These acquisitions included urgently needed items like loitering munitions, air-to-ground bombs, assault rifles, anti-drone systems, and swarm drones intended for use along the border.

Meanwhile, amidst these strategic defense moves, India and China conducted their 19th round of talks at the Corps Commander level. The discussions occurred at the Chushul-Moldo border meeting point, with the primary focus being on advancing proposals for the withdrawal of Chinese troops from the Line of Actual Control. An official statement regarding the outcomes of the talks was anticipated to be released the following day. This highlights India's ongoing commitment to addressing border issues through diplomatic channels alongside its proactive defense measures.

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