New Delhi: At a time when the country is in a bitter standoff With China at Galwan valley in Eastern Ladakh, the Central government on Thursday approved procurement of 33 frontline fighter jets, a number of missile systems and other military hardware at a cost of Rs 38,900 crore to strengthen the combat capability of the armed forces. Also Read - India-China Standoff: Rajnath Singh Cancels Ladakh Trip, 'Waiting' For Chinese Military to Disengage
Issuing a statement, the Union Ministry of Defence said that 21 MiG-29 fighter jets will be procured from Russia while 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft will be bought from State-run aerospace behemoth Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). And another proposal to upgrade existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft has also been approved by the Centre. Also Read - Galwan Clash: Military-level Talks Remain Inconclusive; Rajnath Singh, Army Chief to Visit Ladakh on Friday to Review Security
Besides, the Defence Ministry has also approved procurement of 248 ASTRA beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile systems and a significant number of long range land attack cruise missile systems, the officials said.
The move to purchase these fighter jets and other military equipment was taken at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The development comes after a face-off broke out between the armies of both the countries in eastern Ladakh on June 15 in which 20 solders of Indian Army were killed. On the other hand, the Chinese side also suffered casualties but it is yet to give out the details.
The procurement of 21 MiG-29 and upgrade of the existing fleet of MiG-29 is estimated to cost the Centre Rs 7,418 crore while purchase of 12 new Su-30 MKI from HAL will be made at a cost of Rs 10,730 crore.
Air Force to enhance operational capabilities
Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force said it will further enhance its operational capabilities and improve serviceability of its mission critical systems.
Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria commended the effort put in towards integrated training of air warriors of all streams to meet the present and future operational requirements.
“The CAS (Chief of the Air Staff) while addressing the SASOs emphasised the need for further enhancing our operational capabilities as well as improving serviceability of mission critical systems,” the IAF said.
Following the Galwan Valley clashes, the Army has sent thousands of additional troops to forward locations along the border besides moving in heavy weapons.
Rajnath Singh cancels Ladakh visit
Earlier in the day, the Defence Ministry stated that Union Minister Rajnath Singh’s planned visit to Ladakh on Friday has been cancelled. However, it was not immediately known why the visit has been postponed.
As per updates, the Defence Minister will soon undertake the visit to Ladakh to take stock of India’s military preparedness in the region.
India’s expectation from China
Addressing a press conference, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India expects China to ensure expeditious restoration of peace and tranquility in the border areas in sync with provisions of relevant bilateral pacts as armies of the two countries.
Talking about holding military-level talks, Srivastava said both sides will continue their meetings at the military and diplomatic levels to resolve the issues to mutual satisfaction.
He said the discussions at the latest meeting of senior commanders reflected the commitment of both sides to reduce the tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the 3,500 KM de-facto border between the two countries.
(With inputs from PTI)