Panel set up to speed up military purchases, push indigenisation

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has decided to form a highpowered committee to review the country’s defence procurement procedure and manual to hasten the acquisition of weapons and defence systems with a special focus on life-cycle support and provide impetus to the Make in India initiative to cut down reliance on imported weapons.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh has green-lighted the setting up of an 11-member panel, under the director general (acquisition), to carry out the review and asked the committee to submit its report in six months, a defence ministry spokesperson said on Saturday.

The panel, whose members will be of the rank of at least joint secretary/major general and their equivalents in the navy and air force, will review the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP), 2016 and the Defence Procurement Manual (DPM), 2009.

“The DPP 2016 and DPM 2009 have been due for revision. Aligning the procedures will ensure seamless flow from asset acquisition to life-cycle support and strengthen the Make in India initiative of the government,” the spokesperson said. The development comes at a time the military has sharpened its focus on strengthening its capabilities with new fighter jets, helicopters, warships, submarines, artillery guns, missiles, armoured vehicles and other weapons and systems, as the Narendra Modi government put national security at the top of its agenda in its second term.

Experts welcomed the move to accelerate modernisation and promote indigenisation.

“This is a periodic review which caters to changed circumstances as per the military’s requirements and the evolving security environment,” said Air Vice Marshal Manmohan Bahadur (retd), additional director general, Centre for Air Power Studies.

The committee’s terms of reference include removing procedural bottlenecks.