New Delhi, February 13: The Defence Ministry headed by Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday cleared a proposal to buy guns for armed forces, which is expected to cost Rs 15,935 crore. The plan was first discussed by the top government committee and was later cleared by Nirmala Sitharaman. The list includes light machine guns, assault rifles and sniper rifles, the government said.

A large number of weapons, including an undisclosed number of light machine guns and 7.4 lakh assault rifles will be manufactured in India but it will follow the foreign design’s pattern.

According to a report, there will be 5,719 sniper rifles, meant for the army, which will be direct imports, the government said following a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council – government’s highest decision-making body on procurement.

The three services will also acquire an undisclosed number of light machine guns at a cost of Rs 1,819 crores. The 7.4 lakh assault rifles, which will be given to the army, will cost Rs 12,280 crore, the government said.

Eleven years ago, the Indian Armed forces had flagged the need for new guns. Last month, the Defence Acquisition Council had also decided to acquire at least some of the weapons.

Indian army have been using AK-47 and indigenous INSAS or Indian Small Arms System rifles since 1988. These were meant to be replaced this year with deadlier assault rifles of a higher calibre, especially in the border areas and during counter-insurgency operations.

To enhance the anti-submarine warfare capabilities of Indian Naval Ships, the Defence Acquisition Council also accorded approval for the procurement of Advanced Torpedo Decoy Systems (ATDS) for the Indian Navy.

The ‘Mareech’ system has been developed indigenously but Defence Research and Development Organisation has successfully completed extensive trial evaluations.

Bharat Electronics Limited in Bangalore is behind the ‘Mareech’ system and it will be completed at an estimated cost of Rs 850 crore.