The ministry of defence under the government of India has finally approved the implementation of the guidelines for defence Strategic Partnership model. It will assist the domestic private as well as foreign firms in manufacturing weapons and other artilleries in the country.
The first project to benefit the long-delayed Strategic Partnership policy will be 111 utility twin-engine helicopters. These are worth Rs 21,000 crore for the Indian Navy.
The decision to approve the policy was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council. It is known as the highest decision-making body on procurement in defence matters.
It was done to boost indigenous defence industry and to reduce timelines. Moreover, it will ensure the timely delivery of equipment to the Armed Forces, a spokesperson, associated closely with the group said.
It will identify the local firm, which will be designated as Strategic Partners. It will also keep the door open for defence undertakings of the Union and State Governments, as well as the Ordnance Factory Board. These companies may have a tie-up with foreign original equipment manufacturers to make big-ticket military hardware.
In the beginning, the selection of these units would be limited to four segments. Fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines, armoured fighting vehicles and main battle tanks will be immensely benefitted sector. One partner would generally be selected in a sector, the policy envisages.
It will hope to strengthen the defence industrial ecosystem and slowly build locally tested capabilities in the private sector. Designing, developing and manufacturing these weapon systems for the needs of the defence sector.will be stressed.
The Government is of the view that the move would offer a major fillip in encouraging self-reliance and aligning the defence sector with the “Make in India” initiative.
The council has approved platform-specific guidelines for the procurement of 111 naval utility helicopters as a first test case. It will replace the ageing fleet of single-engine Chetak helicopters operating from warship decks.
Sixteen helicopters are slated to be bought in flyaway condition from a suitable vendor. The remaining 95 will be assembled locally by an Indian partner through joint ventures and technology transfers.
The Government of India has given its nod to the purchasing of eight fast patrol vessels for the Indian Coast Guard. This has been done under the “Buy Indian Designed, Developed and Manufactured” category at a cost of around Rs 800 crore.
According to sources, these vessels will be designed and manufactured locally and will strengthen maritime security by undertaking day-night patrolling and policing of the sea zones of India.
It may be recalled that the vessels are treated as the key to the Coast Guard`s anti-terrorist, anti-smuggling operations. These are also equipped to search and rescue, medical evacuation and disaster relief capabilities.