The Government of India has approved the acquisition of arms and military equipment worth Rs22.9bn ($310.1m) amid an ongoing military standoff with China.

New procurement will help improve India’s capabilities

The procurement proposals were approved at a meeting of the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, which cleared the acquisition of around 72,000 SIG SAUER assault rifles at a cost of Rs7.8bn ($105.62m).

The frontline troops of the Indian Army will be equipped with these SIG Sauer assault rifles, which have an effective range of 500m. According to The Times of India, the Indian Army has already inducted more than 72,400 of the rifles under a fast-track procurement deal signed last year.

Additionally, the DAC approved procurement of Static HF Tans-receiver sets and Smart Anti Airfield Weapon (SAAW), under the Buy Indian category.

The field units of the army and airforce will be equipped with HF radio sets to enable seamless communication. This procurement values around Rs5.4bn ($73.12m). The Smart Anti Airfield Weapon acquisition will amount to Rs9.7bn ($131.35m), boosting the firepower of the navy and airforce.

India has ramped up spending amid conflict with China

Recently, tensions have escalated tensions between China and India, initiated by the deadly border clash which occurred on June 15, leaving at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.

Following the face-off, India has ramped up efforts to boost its military capabilities through weaponry procurements, acquisitions and tests to improve its overall capabilities as part of its strategic positioning in the region.

Recently, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) transferred Authority Holding Sealed Particulars (AHSP) responsibility of Pinaka weapon system to the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA). The step will support the production of the Pinaka missile system, which has a range of around 37.5km.

A number of defense spending markets globally are expected to either achieve only weak growth or decline in 2020, due to cutbacks caused by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, according to in-house date the value of the Indian market is expected to grow by 5.2%, boosted by the conflict.

India has recently signed military pacts with Japan to strengthen its position

On September 10, 2020 India signed a key military agreement with Japan amid ongoing border tensions with China. The pact has established a mutual logistics support arrangement to facilitate further collaboration between the Indian Armed Forces and the Self-Defense Forces of Japan.

As agreed, the two forces will be able to access each other’s bases for supplies and services during bilateral training, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations and other mutually agreed activities. This will help widen India’s presence in the region.

Additionally, the reciprocal provision of supplies and services is expected to improve interoperability between the two armed forces facilitating bilateral defence engagements.