The incumbent Modi government has kept defence of the nation as one of its top priority. Throughout its tenure, the Modi government has entered into several mega defence deals that have proved to be a shot in the arm as far as India’s military firepower is concerned. Now in yet another major defence deal, India is all set to buy more than 3,000 Milan 2T anti-tank guided missiles from France. The deal is set to be a stopgap agreement before the Indian Army gets its homegrown third-generation anti-tank guided missiles that are undergoing trials. The deal is going to be worth over Rs. 1,000 crores.
Sources in the Defence Ministry told the ANI, “An Army proposal in this regard would come up for discussion at a high-level meeting of the Defence Ministry for buying more than 3,000 of the second-generation Milan 2T ATGMs which are license-produced by the Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in partnership with a French firm.” This is going to be a much-needed relief for the infantry units of the Indian Army. Currently, the Army has a requirement of around 70,000 anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) of various types and around 850 launchers of various types. In such a situation, acquisition of Milan 2T ATGMs is going to give the Indian Army a much-needed boost. The Indian Army is looking for third-generation ARGMs with a longer range than the existing Milan-2T and Konkurs ATGMs. The purchase of Milan-2T ATGMs is, therefore, going to be a stopgap arrangement.
It must be noted here that under the tenure of the Modi government, several programmes for acquiring weapon systems from foreign vendors have been scrapped in favour of indigenous projects. For example, in 2017, a Defence Acquisition Council meeting headed by the then Defence minister Arun Jaitley had favoured Akash surface to air missile over vendors from Israel and Sweden for supplying Short-Range Surface to Air Missile (SR-SAM) programme worth over Rs 18,000 crore. This clearly shows that the Indian government wants to build a vibrant base for defence manufacturing in India. India has made several major purchases in the recent past but the idea is to build a strong base for the future.
Modi government has been on a weapons shopping spree in order to fulfill India’s defence needs. The purchase of Rafale jets, S-400 air defence system deal and reports of the upcoming deal for AK 103 rifles that will empower the infantry troops like never before are all examples of how the Modi government has not left any stone unturned when it comes to fulfilling India’s defence needs. The formal induction of the M777 American Ultra-Light Howitzers and K9 Vajra artillery guns only a couple of months ago is an example of how the incumbent government is empowering India’s defence forces like never before.
Modi government is correcting the wrongs committed by the previous government by not being indifferent towards the needs of India’s armed forces and also realising the need to quickly modernise the Indian military set up given the fact that we share a couple of not-so-friendly frontiers. What must be observed is the fact that the Modi government has been making defence purchases in a systematic and sensible manner. It is making sure that all requirements of the defence forces are taken into consideration and met in an appropriate manner. The government has not only gone on a shopping spree but is also taking special care to ensure that all military requirements at all levels are appropriately fulfilled.