Defence News: New Defence Minister Rajnath Singh Friday took a meeting of senior defence ministry and military officials to review the operational preparedness of armed forces and their procurement issues.
He discussed important revenue procurement cases regarding maintenance of platforms and assets with the Armed Forces.
He was briefed by the officers regarding ongoing infrastructure projects and plans for future upgradation. Rajnath Singh, who succeeded Nirmala Sitharaman in Modi 2.0 government, also reviewed working and matters related to Indian Coast Guard.
India is surrounded by hostile neighbours on both its eastern and western borders and has fought four wars with them. Operational preparedness and procurement of latest weapon systems are the two most crucial challenges before the new defence minister.
Rajnath Singh also called for separate meetings with the officials Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy to review their individual operational preparedness.
The meeting was attended by Defence Secretary Shri Sanjay Mitra and Secretary Defence Finance Ms Gargi Kaul alongwith other senior officers of the Ministry.
India is in the process of taking forward a major defence contract for acquiring more than 100 new fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of Russian Mig 21 Bisons.
This will be a follow up order to the government-to-government purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets to meet urgent operational needs of Indian Air Force.
However, the Modi 2.0 government is likely to be extremely careful in finalising high value defence deals given the politics over Rafale purchase during its previous tenure.
The same six aviation majors are again in the fray as were in the last tender of 126 Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft (MMRCA). These include US companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing, Swedish aircraft manufacturer Saab’s Gripen, Mig 29 from Russia and French manufacturers Dassault Aviation’s Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon.
This may be the biggest defence deal in the Modi’s second term.
Rajnath Singh had already visited Siachen Glacier, the world’s highest battlefield to first hand experience the issues faced by ordinary soldiers.
After visiting the Siachen Glacier, he had said that the Jawans will be focus of all the policies during his tenure as defence minister.