In­dia to buy 145 ul­tra-light how­itzers from US

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

NEW DELHI—The De­fence Min­istry on Satur­day paved the way for pur­chase of 145 Ul­tra Light How­itzers, worth about $750 mil­lion, from the US and also ap­proved bulk pro­duc­tion of 18 Dhanush ar­tillery guns, the first ac­qui­si­tion of such weapon sys­tems by the Army in three decades since the Bo­fors scan­dal.

De­fence Ac­qui­si­tion Coun­cil (DAC), chaired by De­fence Min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar , took up 18 proposals in­clud­ing new schemes worth Rs 28,000 crore for dis­cus­sion.

An­other key project that got an Ac­cep­tance of Ne­ces­sity (AON), which will now al­low the Navy to is­sue ten­ders, was the pro­posal to build six next gen­er­a­tion mis­sile ves­sels under ‘Buy In­dian’ cat­e­gory for Rs 13,600 crore.

“DAC has ap­proved pro­gress­ing of on­go­ing case of pro­cure­ment of 145 Ul­tra Light How­itzers through the For­eign Mil­i­tary Sales (FMS) route from the US. DAC di­rected in­de­pen­dent pro­gress­ing of off­set. The de­liv­ery of th­ese guns will be in In­dia which will help in sub­stan­tial sav­ing of trans­porta­tion cost,” a se­nior de­fence min­istry of­fi­cial said.

The DAC has also short­ened the sup­ply pe­riod of the guns, with a strike range of 25km, sources said though the ex­act pe­riod could not be known.

Ex­plain­ing the process, the of­fi­cer said that In­dia had sent a let­ter of re­quest to the US gov­ern­ment show­ing in­ter­est in buy­ing the guns which will be de­ployed in high al­ti­tude ar­eas in Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, bor­der­ing China.

The US had re­sponded with a Let­ter of Ac­cep­tance and today’s DAC looked into the terms and con­di­tions and ap­proved it. This let­ter will now be sent back to the US and the process for the pay­ment of first in­stal­ment will be­gin. The off­sets, under which BAE Sys­tems, man­u­fac­turer of the gun, will in­vest about $200 mil­lion, will be pur­sued in­de­pen­dently.—PTI

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