The Indian Government is planning to procure 186,000 bulletproof jackets for its armed forces to address the shortage of these jackets.

The jackets are set to be delivered by April next year.

In a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of the Indian Parliament, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh stated that the procurement would cost around Rs6.39bn ($93.15m), the Press Trust of India (PTI) reported.

Singh stated that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) did not place an embargo on the import of raw material from China for bulletproof jackets in the tender for procurement.

However, the tender has a clause that mandates the supplier to procure 30% of the content from local sources.

Singh was quoted by the news agency as saying: “In 2009, there was a shortage of 353,755 bulletproof jackets in the country, but the procurement was not done for a long time. A request for proposal (RFP) for procurement of 186,138 bulletproof jackets has been issued in April 2016 and the tender in this regard was allotted on 9 April 2018 to an Indian buyer.”

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The MoD has to date procured 10,000 bulletproof jackets following quality checks by the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA).

The ministry expects to receive a total of 37,000 jackets by October this year.

Singh added: “There is no decline in the quality of bulletproof jackets procured for the Indian Army.”

The DGQA performs detailed testing of every lot supplied by the vendor.

Meanwhile, the Indian Army is planning to purchase Excalibur guided long-range artillery rounds that can accurately hit targets more than 50km away, ANI reported.

The ammunition is compatible with the new M-777 howitzers bought from the US.