In view of the military tussle with China in Ladakh in June 2020 and increased tensions at LoC, the Indian Army spent Rs 18,000 crore to add to its firepower, including emergency purchases worth Rs 5,000 crore

The Indian Army spent Rs 18,000 crore to add to its firepower, including emergency purchases worth Rs 5,000 crore last year, in the wake of the military tussle with China and increased tensions at the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan. In his Army Day address, Indian Army Chief Gen MM Naravane said the procurement worth Rs 5,000 crore was purchased under emergency clauses.

"We purchased material worth Rs 5,000 crore with 38 deals under emergency and fast track scheme which included arms and other material. Other than this, contracts under capital procurement plans worth Rs 13,000 crore were finalised," Gen Naravane said.

Not just emergency purchases for troops to sustain the harsh winter, welfare steps for families were also taken amid the standoff.

The Army chief said the action in Ladakh named 'Operation Snow Leopard' was notified to ensure liberalised family pensions, war injury element and higher ex-gratia to the families of soldiers who were killed or injured in action.

Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in action and several wounded in June 2020 in Galwan Valley when Indian and Chinese troops were involved in an ugly clash.

Many of the emergency purchases were fast-tracked as the Indian Army prepared to grind it out amid the ongoing standoff with China in Ladakh.

Keeping in mind the massive deployment even during cold conditions, the army stocked on clothing, shelters, tents and other logistics that would help sustain temperatures dipping to -40 degrees.

Special winter clothing and material was also brought in from the US as an emergency procurement before the onset of winter.

He said the deals include light machine guns, light special vehicles and personal protective gear for infantry soldiers, infantry carrier vehicles for mechanised infantry and long-range vectors for artillery.

New communication equipment for the Corps of Signals and modern platforms for engineers are also included in these.

Gen Naravane said self-reliance in the armed forces is an integral part of modernisation plans under PM Narendra Modi's flagship 'Make in India'.

"Indian Army has identified 29 modernisation projects worth Rs. 32,000 crore for the future. Along with private industry and academia Indian Army contributing towards building a self-reliant ecosystem. This will promote indigenous technology and we will be less dependent on imports."