India to purchase $8.5b military equipment


India on Thursday approved purchases of missiles, helicopters, artillery guns and electronic warfare systems worth $8.5 billion as it sought to add more teeth to its military.

The Defence Acquisition Council, the top government body for capital acquisition approvals for the Indian military, approved the orders worth 705 billion rupees ($8.52bn) for all its services, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

All orders would be placed with Indian companies, it said, keeping with a push by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to boost domestic defence manufacturing.

Flanked by fellow nuclear-armed powers China and Pakistan and running tensions with Chinese troops along its disputed Himalayan frontier, India has been seeking to modernise its mostly Soviet-era military equipment.

The focus on the navy, which accounted for approvals worth 560 billion rupees on Thursday, comes after India expressed concern last year over Chinese activity in the Indian Ocean.—Reuters