‘India signed ‘urgent’ arms deals worth INR 200bn for battle-readiness after Uri’

New Delhi: India has signed a number of ’emergency’ arms deals worth 200 billion Indian Rupees (INR) over the past two or three months to ensure its armed forces’ preparedness for battle on short notice, Times of India reported on Monday.

The Indian daily, citing defence ministry sources, said the aim of the deals was to guarantee that India’s armed forces are able to undertake at least 10 days of “intense fighting” without having to worry about ammunition, spares and other reserves.

Progress on new contracts, especially with Russia, Israel and France, was ramped up after the Uri army base attack in September 2016.

According to ToI, the Indian Air Force has concluded 43 contracts worth more than 92bn INR for ammunition and spares for fighter jets such as the Sukoi-30MKIs, Mirage-2000s and MiG-29s, transport aircraft like the IL-76s, and mid-air refuellers like the IL-78s and Phalcon AWACS.

The Indian Army has inked around 10 contracts worth over Rs58bn with Russian companies for engines and 125mm armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot ammunition for T-90s and T-72 tanks, Konkurs anti-tank guided missiles and Smerch rockets.

Last week, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a 10 per cent increase in the country’s defence budget for upcoming fiscal year. The budget was increased to 2.74 trillion Indian rupees compared to previous fiscal year’s (2016-17) budget of INR 2.49tr.

The portion of the budget allocated to capital acquisition for the upcoming fiscal year is just over INR 0.86tr.

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