India authorized procurement of missiles, helicopters, artillery and electronic warfare equipment totaling $8.52 billion on Thursday, in an effort to strengthen its military capabilities.
The Indian Defence Ministry said in a statement that the orders totaling Rs705 billion ($8.52 billion) for all of the Indian military’s services were authorized by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) which is the highest government authority for capital procurement approvals.
According to the statement, all orders will be given to Indian businesses in line with efforts being made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration to increase local defense production.
India has been attempting to modernize its predominantly Soviet-era military hardware in light of its proximity to fellow nuclear-armed nations China and Pakistan as well as ongoing tensions with Chinese forces along its disputed Himalayan border.
The focus on the navy comes after India raised alarm over Chinese action in the Indian Ocean last year, which led to clearances totaling 560 billion rupees on Thursday.
The list of authorized acquisitions includes electronic warfare systems for the navy, 50 utility helicopters, and 200 more BrahMos missiles.
The BrahMos is a supersonic missile that India and Russia jointly developed. It has a range of around 300 kilometers. Versions of the missile have been in use by all three Indian armed forces for more than ten years.
The DAC also authorized the production of an Indian first: a diesel marine engine.
The Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jet’s long-range stand-off armament was authorized according to the air force’s recommendation.
The army received approval to purchase high mobility vehicles, gun towing vehicles, and 307 155mm/52 caliber towed artillery gun units.