The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) headed by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met earlier today, for the first time in 2020, to consider a number of new and ongoing proposals for procuring critically needed platforms and equipment for the Armed Forces. Importantly, the joint Adani Group- Hindustan Shipyard Limited bid to be shortlisted as the Indian Strategic Partner for the Project 75I (P-75I), which is a programme to domestically build six diesel-electric submarines with foreign collaboration has been rejected by DAC. For P-75I, DAC has decided to accord approval only to Larsen and Toubro (L&T) and Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) for participation as potential SPs in the project.
To promote indigenisation, DAC also accorded approval for the procurement of equipment worth over Rs 5,100 crore from indigenous sources.
Shortlisting of Indian Strategic Partners for Project 75I
But first, the big news of the day: DAC has approved shortlisting of two potential Indian SPs and five foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that would collaborate with the former to construct six conventional (diesel-electric) submarines in India. This programme is being progressed under the ‘Strategic Partnership Model’, promulgated as Chapter 7 of the Defence Procurement Procedure- 2016 (DPP-2016) in 2017 to give a major boost to ‘Make in India’ in the Defence Sector. The SP is expected to play a transformational role in building an eco-system in the country, comprising development entities, specialised vendors and suppliers; especially those from the MSME sector. SP Model also seeks to promote India as a manufacturing hub for defence equipment, in addition to establishing an industrial and R&D eco-system capable of meeting the future requirements of the Armed Forces besides giving a boost to exports. As mentioned above, DAC has shortlisted L&T & MDL to compete for building six submarines for the Indian Navy and has kept Adani Group out from the process. The five shortlisted foreign OEMs for this project are Rosoboronexport (Russia), Naval Group (France), Navantia (Spain), TKMS (Germany) & Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering ( South Korea).
Electronic warfare system for the Indian Army
The procurement of a new sophisticated Electronic Warfare (EW) System for the Indian Army (IA) designed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured locally by Indian industry was also given the go ahead by DAC in its meeting earlier today. This system will be used in deserts and plains and will provide both comprehensive electronic support measure (ESM) as well as electronic countermeasure (ECM) capabilities to the IA’s field formations.
Prototype testing of indigenous trawl assemblies
The DAC also approved prototype testing of trawl assemblies designed by DRDO for T-72 and T-90 tanks providing an important indigenous de-mining capability to the Army.
iDEX to be included in Defence Procurement Procedure
DAC also accorded approval for inclusion of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) in the DPP-2016. This would provide avenues to startups and innovators for securing orders from the Armed Forces.
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